Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Poor Cannot Afford to Eat Healthily

The high cost of food continues to make healthy eating difficult, if not impossible, a recent survey by the Perth District Health Unit in Canada suggests. 

Each year the PDHU monitors the affordability of food in the region by visiting six local grocery stores to find the average total cost of 67 basic food items such as vegetables, fruit, meat, bread, eggs, and milk.

In 2016, the cost of this Nutritious Food Basket for a family of four was $210.51 per week, or $911.51 per month. Those figures are similar to the cost in 2015, but is an increase of $15.97 per week from 2014.

“Food prices significantly impact people living on low-incomes or those with unstable or low-paying jobs,” Natalee Ridgeway, registered dietitian at the PDHU, said in a announcing the results of the survey. “When you factor in the cost of food and rent, we see that there’s very little, if anything, left for all other expenses like transportation, hydro, clothing, and child care.”

A family of four living on Ontario Works would have just $319 per month for all other expenses after paying rent and purchasing food, the PDHU notes.

“People simply can’t afford to purchase healthy food. They may skip meals, purchase cheaper, poor quality foods, or turn to food banks or meal programs to make ends meet,” Ridgeway said. She explained, “At the root of food insecurity is inadequate incomes.”

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