High food prices could have a long-term negative impact on the health of Canadians

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dated: 2022-11-24 19:11:20 .

Recent high food price inflation has plagued many Canadian families, especially those on a tight budget. Statistics Canada reported in October that store food prices rose faster than the CPI for all items for the 11th month in a row.

The Ontario Student Nutrition Program, which feeds 28,000 students in 93 participating schools, has been hit hard by inflation and needs more money and volunteers. A school breakfast that used to cost $1.20 now costs more than $2.

A recent study by the non-profit Angus Reid Institute found that nearly 60 percent of Canadians struggle to provide food for their families. If they can afford to buy groceries, many cannot afford to buy enough or buy the groceries they want.

They end up skipping meals, eating stale and low-quality food, and visiting different stores to find cheaper options, resulting in malnutrition. A Dalhousie University study of 5,000 Canadians found that 23.6 percent of the population cut back on grocery shopping and 7.1 percent skip meals due to inflation.

Excessive spending on groceries

In general, moderate inflation is not bad. The Bank of Canada is targeting an inflation rate of 2% — that’s the middle of a range of 1% to 3%. The Bank of Canada affects the inflation rate by manipulating the interest rate.

However, the current high inflation is different – ​​the Bank of Canada itself has admitted that. In a recent speech, central bank governor Tiff Macklem said, “High inflation is making life harder for Canadians, especially those on low or fixed incomes.”

Food, shelter and transportation account for more than 60 percent of household expenses. If only food prices were subject to high inflation, households could divert income from housing and transportation to cover it. However, currently high inflation is spreading across all three regions, meaning Canadians are struggling to put food on the table, stay sheltered and afford transportation.

According to the consumer price index, food, accommodation and transport make up more than 60 percent of household expenses. (Statistics Canada), provided by the author

The amount of money middle-income households spend on transportation and groceries makes them vulnerable. But recent rate hikes aren’t helping low-income people either. Canadians spend most of their income (almost a third) to keep a roof over their heads. Recent increases in interest rates on loans have increased the cost of housing.

The Canadian Food Price Report points out that Canadians historically spend less than 10 percent of their income on food. But that has changed – Canadians now spend 16 percent of their income on food. The report also said that the food inflation index has outstripped overall inflation over the past 20 years. The cost of a typical grocery bill increased by 70 percent between 2000 and 2020.

Canadian health is suffering

An important side effect of rising food price inflation is its impact on health and nutrition. As food costs rise, it limits the availability of nutritious food for low-income people. Ultimately, this could result in long-term consequences for human health and put additional pressure on Canada’s already strained health care system.

According to research from the University of Toronto, an insecure food supply increases vulnerability to a variety of diseases and health conditions, including infectious diseases, poor oral health, injuries and chronic conditions such as depression and anxiety, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and chronic pain.

Historically, Canadians spend less than 10 percent of their income on food. However, due to inflation and the rising cost of living, Canadians now spend 16 percent of their income on groceries. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Similarly, a study by researchers at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies found that nutrition, especially in the postnatal state, is the single most important factor affecting human growth. This suggests that shorter adult height in low- and middle-income countries is related to environmental conditions such as nutrition.

We need to pay special attention to food price inflation because it has the potential to have long-term effects on the physical and mental health of future generations. Our children are our future – there is no compromise when it comes to their food and nutrition. Today’s malnourished children will lead to tomorrow’s malnourished nation.

A coordinated effort is needed

It is important to make policymakers and governments aware of this devastating situation so that they can take the necessary steps to combat skyrocketing food prices. Governments and policy makers must ensure Canadians have access to affordable, nutritious food.

As a short-term solution, Canadians should consider buying seasonal and frozen foods, growing their own food, and replacing meat with vegetables. To combat food price inflation from a systemic perspective, policymakers should index welfare amounts to inflation as soon as possible to prevent unpredictable increases in food prices for welfare recipients.

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Finally, companies should not take advantage of people’s desperation by raising food prices. Canada’s three largest grocery chains have experienced tremendous growth recently. They could use those gains to offset some of the costs of food price inflation. There is no single solution to effectively address high food price inflation, but it requires coordinated efforts from all parties – governments, businesses and households.

Source: theconversation.com

High food prices could have a long-term negative impact on the health of Canadians

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Source https://canadatoday.news/ca/high-food-prices-could-have-a-negative-impact-on-canadians-health-in-the-long-term-161177/

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