The results of the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit’s 2015 Nutritious Food Basket Survey indicate that a family of four (two parents with two children) on Ontario Works spend 83% of their monthly income on food and rent, leaving only $375 for other needs each month. Since 2010, the cost of food in LGL has increased 20%.
The Nutritious Food Basket is an annual survey of the average price of 67 food items in grocery stores in LGL. It is used to measure the cost of basic healthy eating for individuals and families each year. This cost can be compared to individual and household income, and the amount of income left over each month to pay for other basic needs, like rent and childcare, can be calculated.
What is Hunger?
When people and families are unable to access enough healthy food to eat in a way that makes them feel good about themselves, it is called “food insecurity” or “hunger”. Food insecurity affects how much and what kind of food a person eats and may stop someone from getting all the vitamins, minerals and food energy they need to be healthy today and in the future.
The root cause of hunger is a lack of money to meet basic needs. Research shows us that income has an important effect on health and it influences health most directly through access to material resources such as better quality food and shelter. When we don't have enough money for these basic needs, we are at a higher risk for many diseases. Living in poverty increases the chance someone will have conditions like diabetes, cancer, mental illnesses, or respiratory or heart diseases.
Being able to buy and eat healthy food (or food security) is a key social determinant of health. The social determinants of health are things like how much money you have to spend on things you need and unplanned expenses and extras too, having a good job, being able to go to school, getting support from friends and family and living somewhere where you feel safe and happy. These determinants of health influence the health of people, communities and countries. They are “The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.”
Learn More About the Root Causes of Hunger and the Solutions
Let's Start a Conversation About Health...
and Not Talk About Health Care at All
Watch this video to see how our opportunities to be healthy are affected by the conditions in which we live, work, and play.
This video shows us that HEALTH is about much more than something we get at the doctor's office or from using hospital services. Scientists have found that the conditions in which we live and work can impact our health in a very big way. This means that not everyone has the same opportunity to make the choices that allow them to live a long and healthy life. Health starts in our families, in our schools and workplaces, in our playgrounds and parks, and in the air we breathe and the water we drink.
This video describes actions that different people and organizations can take to help create healthier communities. It encourages everyone -- educators, builders, parents, farmers, health care providers, business owners, community leaders, municipal councillors... to start a conversation about health... and not talk about health care at all!
Let's Start a Conversation About Health - User Guide
Use this guide to learn more about how to "get the conversation started" so that all members of our communities have good opportunities to be healthy.
Everyone should have the opportunity to make the choices that allow them to live a long, healthy life, regardless of their income, education, or ethnic background. ¹
The avoidable difference in health between groups that are caused by our living conditions (jobs, housing, neighbourhoods, etc.). ²
Not all members of our communities have the same opportunities to be healthy. ¹
Social Determinants of Health
The conditions in which people grow, live, work and age. These conditions have a powerful influence on health. Inequalities in these conditions lead to inequalities in health. ³