The True Cost of Healthy Eating

Making healthy food choices can be challenging in today’s food landscape with packed schedules, long commutes and the prevalence and convenience of fast foods luring us into bad decisions on empty stomachs.  But in light of the BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) Food Costing Report 2017, making healthy food choices is not just challenging, but impossible for those of us who do not have the basic income to be able to make a choice in the first place.

The Food Costing Report highlights that being unable to afford healthy food (household food insecurity), “is recognized as a key public health issue in BC as it affects an individual’s physical, social and mental health and overall well-being.”[i]  The Report also underscores that it is not the price of food itself that is causing household food insecurity but household income, or the lack of it.

BCCDC’s Food Costing 2017 Report comes at a prescient and important time in our province. After 10 years of collective and resolute efforts, The Poverty Reduction Strategy Act became law in Fall 2018; with a poverty reduction strategy to follow this year.  (You can submit your feedback on Basic Income until February 15, 2019).

This is a great step forward to ensuring that the 557 000 British Columbians[ii] who are currently experiencing poverty, including food insecurity, will get the basic income they need in order to get a shot at making healthier choices.  Research from BCCDC’s Food Costing 2017 Report shows that it costs $1019 a month in BC for a family of four to be able eat healthfully. [iii]  This specific figure moves us in the right direction when thinking about what a basic income must include in order for our most vulnerable to have a chance at a healthier life, and a healthier diet which is key to preventing chronic disease.

 

[i] BC Centre for Disease Control. (2018). Food Costing in BC 2017: Assessing the affordability of healthy eating. Vancouver, B.C.: BC Centre for Disease Control, Population and Public Health Program.

[ii] https://www.abcplan.ca/

[iii] BC Centre for Disease Control. (2018). Food Costing in BC 2017: Assessing the affordability of healthy eating. Vancouver, B.C.: BC Centre for Disease Control, Population and Public Health Program.

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