Academic Literature

Food Insecurity and Its Consequences in Indigenous Children and Youth in Canada


Food Insecurity and Its Consequences in Indigenous Children and Youth in Canada

6 months ago 6 months ago Published by

Food insecurity (FI) is at a crisis level in some Indigenous communities and impacts many of the half million First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) children across Canada, particularly in isolated northern communities. This can lead to malnutrition and can have significant impacts on the physical, intellectual, emotional and social development of a child, often with lasting effects across the life course. This is a narrative review article with extensive search of the medical literature with input from the FNIM National organizations. The primary cause of FI is an imbalance between the high price of food relative to household income, where poverty is a driving factor. The cost and lack of availability to healthy foods has resulted in a transition to unhealthy market foods. Food security programs need to be prioritized, multi-faceted and multi-tiered within a framework of food sovereignty. Translational science, research, to practice is also important. The use of successful Indigenous based models of FI, towards food sovereignty using self-determination, Indigenous Knowledge, strength-based models, and ancestral sustainability are critical. Continued community-based evaluation of FI towards sustainable healthy food programs are important for communities to initiate track, evaluate, and grow robust community-based programs to counter-balance FI. Continued scientific research in the fields of FI, food sovereignty, and their relationship to co-occurring conditions related to healthy eating and beverage consumption are vastly important to the health of Indigenous Peoples. These are all part of many Indigenous connection to the earth, through food source, the maintenance of health through ancestral ways of living, set in the premise of looking forward multiple generations towards the continued resiliency through food, diet, relationship, and sovereignty. Food Security is a human right and needs to be urgently addressed for Indigenous children in Canada.

Banerji, A. (2023). Food insecurity and its consequences in Indigenous children and youth in Canada. PLOS Global Public Health, 3(9).

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