Nutrition Month & Food Insecurity

Nutrition month is typically a time for Canadians to reflect on healthy eating habits and think about new ways to incorporate nutritious foods into their daily meals. Last year, the federal government promoted the revised Canadian Food Guide, which included considerations beyond nutrients, such as: food literacy, food culture and traditions, food availability and sustainability.

This year with the pandemic, BCAHL aims to highlight nutrition month in the context of food insecurity. Food insecurity can be described as the “inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints.” Food insecurity can negatively impact a person’s physical, mental and social health.

Nutritious eating is fundamental to good health, contributes to healthy human development, is important through all stages of life, and reduces the risk of many chronic diseases. In order for British Columbians to eat healthy, balanced meals, we need to ensure that everyone is food secure.

Food insecurity is significantly higher during COVID-19, with nearly 15% of Canadians reporting as food insecure compared to 10.5% in 2017/ 2018. Moreover, Canadians living in households with children reported higher rates of food insecurity at nearly 20%, and were more likely to be worried about food running out.

Certain populations most vulnerable to food insecurity include Black and Indigenous peoples, households led by female lone parents, and people who rent their homes. Moreover, when the pandemic hit, workers of colour reported having a hard time paying for basic needs.

BCAHL continues to advance policies which can help people across BC to eat, drink and live healthier. In the context of the pandemic, some of the policies we continue to promote include:

  • Targeted measures to support populations that have been marginalized and disadvantaged due to COVID-19
  • Adjusting Income Assistance support rates to account for the actual cost of fresh and healthy food
  • Actions to improve access to healthy food and food skills in rural and remote communities
  • Ensuring access to quality drinking water. Priority should be given to remote First Nations communities with all levels of government working together to address this issue

The pandemic has accentuated the need for food security measures. We need to continue closing the gaps between inequities to ensure that everyone can lead healthy lives.

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