The Link Between Food Banks And Health Is Stronger Than We Thought

Although Canada is one of the top 25 richest nations in the world, over 800,000 people across the country are unable to afford food. The number has progressively grown over the years as our economy continues to struggle from the impact of the recession 10 years ago. Although we hear of improvements in the overall economic reality, many Canadians simply haven’t experienced the benefit.

In a food crisis, many people turn to food pantries or banks. These non-profit organizations work every day to help the hungry and improve their quality of life. The tireless efforts ensure many Canadians will be able to eat when the financial odds are against them.

But having food does not mean being healthy. As we have learned, diet plays an important role in health and having a diverse selection containing all food groups is a must to stave off chronic diseases and maintain proper immunity to battle infections. Ensuring these necessities is difficult in an environment where the need to supply food of any kind far outweighs government recommendations.

In light of this dilemma, a group of American researchers wanted to find out if the use of food pantries could improve an individual’s health. The hope was to find at least some health benefit related to these visits. Their results revealed how these organizations are helping to ensure food security and, to some extent, keep people healthy.

The researchers chose counties from four different states in which the poverty rate was over 16 per cent and there were no food policy councils in place. This meant there was no local action for the improvement of food security or healthy eating. If any benefits were seen in the study, the food pantry would be the true cause.

The visit increased the availability of food and allowed for an increase the calories ingested. But an increase in calories did not mean an improvement in health.

A total of 455 people were included in the analysis. The individuals were all adults who had visited the pantry at least one time previously. The participants were allowed to collect the food and then were contacted a day later to find out about their intake using a standard questionnaire known as the Household Food Security Survey Module. The individuals were contacted a second

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel


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