Grocery prices making healthy food unaffordable for B.C. families, report says |

Grocery prices making healthy food unaffordable for B.C. families, report says |

Healthy food includes foods that provide a good balance of essential nutrients. This means choosing foods low in fat, sugar and salt. Try to fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits (3 or more servings a day). Choose whole grain foods (such as brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal) instead of refined, or processed grains. Include low-fat dairy (such as milk, yogurt and kefir) and unsalted nuts and seeds.

Many B.C. families in lower-income households cannot afford to have healthy, nutritious diets due to food costs.

A BC Centre for Disease Control report, Food Costing in BC 2022, found that the average cost for a nutritious diet for a family of four in May and June 2022 was $1,263 per month.

“Food insecurity is a significant public health issue,” said Dr. Geoff McKee, BC Centre for Disease Control’s medical director of population and public health.

“The price of food does not affect everyone equally and the root cause of household food insecurity are low incomes.”

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Typically, a food cost report is done every two years by the BCCDC, but this is the first since 2017, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The cost of food is found by using a survey tool called the “national nutritious food basket,” which assesses the cost of 61 food items at grocery stores across the province.

According to the report, average monthly costs in 2022 in the five regional health authorities ranged from $1,193 in Fraser Health to $1,366 in Island Health.

“After a review of five different household compositions and income scenarios, the report shows many people and households who live on low incomes, especially on income or disability assistance, cannot afford a nutritious diet after paying rent,” BCCDC staff said in the report.

About 15 per cent of British Columbians “struggle to put food on the table,” according to the report.

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Diets that lack nutrition increase health and social risks in both children and adults.

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Babies, children and youths may have an increased risk of anemia, lower nutrient intake, asthma and hospitalization as well as having poorer academic outcomes and social skills, according to the report.

For adults, there is a greater risk of chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. It can also lead to anxiety, sleep disturbance, social isolation and depression, the report found.

The report said those suffering from food insecurity are 76 per cent more likely to have higher health-care costs compared with those without.

Global News talked to the Surrey Food Bank’s executive director Nancy Pagani.

Pagani said the organization has seen an increase in the demand for food, while experiencing a decline in both monetary and food donations.

She also said many food bank users that haven’t been using the food bank have returned due to the rising cost of living.

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&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Kerri Waldron

My name is Kerri Waldron and I am an avid healthy lifestyle participant who lives by proper nutrition and keeping active. One of the things I love best is to get to where I am going by walking every chance I get. If you want to feel great with renewed energy, you have to practice good nutrition and stay active.

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