Social Determinants of Health – Food Insecurity

The primary factors that shape the health of Canadians are not medical treatments or lifestyle choices but rather the living conditions they experience. These conditions have come to be known as the social determinants of health.

In this article we focus on the social determinant of Food Insecurity :

Food insecurity does not affect all Canadians equally, and there are very clear social patterns of vulnerability. Analyses of population survey data consistently identify low-income as a predictor of household food insecurity. In addition, rates of food insecurity are highest among Aboriginal Canadians, households reliant on social assistance, households headed by single mothers, and those renting rather than owning a home.

There has been less research conducted to examine the relationship between household food insecurity and other social determinants such as social capital (i.e. the value derived from social connections, social networks) and neighbourhood factors (i.e. proximity to supermarkets and community food programs).

Lack of retail food access is commonly thought to be a significant barrier to food security, but there has been little direct examination of this.  However, one recent study of families in high-poverty Toronto neighbourhoods found no relationship between geographic access to food retail and household food insecurity; 79% of households in this study were food-insecure despite the presence of discount supermarkets in their neighbourhoods.


Please visit: Social Determinants of Food Insecurity for articles that present research on social determinants of food insecurity,  such as:

Food insecurity of low-income lone mothers and their children in Atlantic Canada. McIntyre L, GlanvilleNT, Officer S, Anderson B, Raine KD, Dayle JB. Canadian Journal of Public Health 2002; 93:411-415.


Also visit Food Secure Canada for more resources and webinars on various topics related to food insecurity across Canada such as:

What’s Race Got to Do With It:

Food, Diversity and Inclusion

Webinar Hosted by Food Secure Canada
 Tuesday, April 29th 2014
 As part of FSC’s emerging Food Justice Network, we heard from two food justice thinkers and activists discussing food, diversity, and inclusion and how it relates to their work.


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