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Food insecurity on the rise in NWO

By Tim Davidson Apr 9, 2024 | 11:12 AM

The cost to feed a family of four nutritious food in northwestern Ontario has gone up 9 percent in the past year.

That’s according to the Northwestern Health Unit its annual food security report.

It now cost over $1,400 a month or just over $325 a week.

According to the report, 1 in 5, or 21.3 percent households in the Kenora and Rainy River Districts are facing food insecurity.

That’s compared to the provincial average of 18.7 percent.

Public health dietitian Zoe Brenner says there a number of reasons why food insecurity is so high in this region.

“You know we face some unique challenges with our smaller communities in term of food transportation,” explains Brenner.

“We have fewer grocery stores, so there is less grocery competition in the north.  So we definitely tend to see higher prices in our area.”

Brenner adds that food insecurity can lead to any number of health problems.

“We have a lot of evidence that shows being food insecure increases your risk for different chronic diseases like diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, mental health conditions.  It impacts childhood growth and development, so it really is a public health concern.”

“Ultimately, income-based solutions are needed to support food insecurity.”

You can read more in the NWHU’s newly release report 2023 report: The Real Cost of Eating Well in Northwestern Ontario.