Problem focuses on the pantry

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People in many Nova Scotia towns will note that food banks scramble to keep up with demand. A recent report suggests that the root of this problem is getting worse – with this province at the bottom end of a worrying trend.

The Household Food Insecurity in Canada report, released last week, reveals that 13 per cent of households in Canada experience some level of food insecurity. Among provinces, Nova Scotia had the highest level, at 17.5 per cent. That compares to 16.2 per cent in Prince Edward Island.

The results were reported last week by various media outlets, including the CBC. Produced with support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, researchers involved in the report said the problem is getting worse in parts of Canada.

Food insecurity in a given household is described as those Canadians who don’t have access to sufficient food for a full, healthy diet.

The distribution of the figures suggest that low income is a direct factor. The ramifications are evident: poor nutrition will be a main factor in health problems; for children, it can result in poor performance in school.

Although the researchers say they hope the finding will help to prompt action from governments, doubtless, education could play a huge part in helping relieve the problem.

Think of the endless array of highly processed foods lining the shelves of grocery stores. The sales pitch is that they’re a bargain, but that’s not always the case. Dietitians will suggest steering clear of the processed foods and making choices that are simple and natural – home preparation of food is nearly always less expensive and more nutritious. Defeating the notion that convenience is good would go a long way toward affordable grocery bills.

Where intervention is warranted – some of our schools have programs in place to see that children who might otherwise do without, get a nutrition boost at school. That also would be a good place to teach basics of healthy food planning.

Organizations: CBC, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Geographic location: Canada, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island

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