One of the roles of a registered dietitian is to monitor the cost of a balanced diet. By 2017, the cost for a family of four, according to the "Food Costing in BC" report, was $ 1,019 / month, a $ 45 increase for the same food in 2015 (which increased another $ 60 compared to 2013). This cost does not take into account special dietary needs, cultural preferences or other food preferences, non-food items, food or travel condiments, seasonings or cooking utensils. When you compare this cost of food with income, it is clear that the greatest impact is felt by those who have the lowest incomes. In 2012, 12.7 percent or 485,000 people in the BC population were food insecure.
The causes of food insecurity are complex, but the lack of popular housing would be at the top of the list. Finding shelter is a higher priority than eating nutritious food. As you can imagine, the effects of food insecurity are expensive as they affect individual health and health costs. A 2018 study, "The economic burden of not meeting food recommendations in Canada: the cost of doing nothing," found that the economic burden of not meeting healthy food recommendations is approximately $ 13.8 billion per year in Canada ($ 5.1 billion directly associated with health care costs and $ 8.7 billion are associated with indirect costs such as lost productivity).
Related: 2017 – Almost half of newly immigrant children in BC are poor: report
• Food insecure mothers are less able to sustain exclusive breastfeeding as mothers living in safe homes for food.
• Food insecure individuals report high levels of health problems, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and food allergies.
• Unsafe individuals with diabetes have less success in controlling blood sugar
• Food insecure individuals are at greater risk of depression, distress (including feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness), and social isolation.
• Childhood hunger is an independent risk factor for depression and suicidal symptoms in adolescence and early adulthood.
• Food insecure children have poorer academic outcomes and social skills compared to children who are not experiencing food insecurity.
I think you got the picture. As a community, we need to find ways to promote domestic food security that maintains the dignity of an individual because it directly or indirectly affects everyone. This includes getting involved in municipal policies, donating time or resources to the Shuswap Food Action Society, and emergency aid (Salvation Army Food Bank, Second Harvest).
– Serena Caner is a nutritionist at Shuswap Lake General Hospital