New Estimates of Household Food Insecurity in Canada Released
National data on household food insecurity in Canada collected through the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) in 2007-2008 is now available. The CCHS is a cross-sectional survey that collects information related to health status, health care utilization and health determinants for the Canadian population on an annual basis (prior to 2007, data collection was every two years). It relies upon a large sample of respondents and is designed to provide reliable estimates at the health region level. National and provincial estimates of income-related food insecurity were first collected as part of the CCHS, Cycle 2.2. (Nutrition) in 2004 by Statistics Canada and Health Canada. The national data identifies and quantifies the types of households that are unable to obtain sufficient food due to lack of money.
According to the latest results, almost 956,000 Canadian households (7.7%) experienced food insecurity in 2007-2008. About 5.1% experienced moderate food insecurity, and 2.7% experienced the severe level. ‘Moderate’ food insecurity means that there was an indication that quality and/or quantity of food consumed was compromised. ‘Severe’ food insecurity means that there was an indication of reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns. In comparison to the national figure, the percentage was higher in Nova Scotia; 9.3% of households in the province experienced food insecurity in 2007-2008. In 2004, the prevalence of income-related household food insecurity in Canada and Nova Scotia was 9.2% and 14.6%, respectively.
The 2007-2008 results also indicated lone parent households had the highest rates of food insecurity in comparison to other living arrangements. Households with children under 6 had higher rates of adult food insecurity suggesting that adults were protecting the food security of children, especially young children. In terms of age group and sex, younger people and women were more likely to live in households with food insecurity.
The results confirm that food insecurity is a reality for many socio-demographically vulnerable Canadian households. The findings on the pattern of household food security in Canada can be informative in guiding policy, program and research decisions aimed at addressing this issue.
The full report can be viewed here