Survey finds 1 in 6 Simcoe Muskoka households are experiencing some level of food insecurity – Barrie

A new survey from the health department shows that due to rising costs of living, more people in the Simcoe-Muskoka area need to pinch a penny when it comes to healthy foods.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s 2022 Nutrient Basket Survey shows that more residents find it difficult or nearly impossible to put basic healthy foods on the table.

Annual surveys measure how much it costs residents across the region to purchase a basic healthy diet.

Vanessa Hurley, Public Health Dietitian and Registered Dietitian, said: “For many residents, it’s a reality that they struggle to put food on the table. One in six households experience some degree of food insecurity. I will.”

“Without access to nutritious foods, people can begin to experience adverse health effects that can persist for long periods of time, even for life.”

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A 2022 study found that it costs $1,159.92 for a family of four and $419.00 for a single household to buy basic groceries for a month.

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In a statement, the health department said that for many people living on low incomes, the cost of healthy food and rent consumes most, and sometimes all, of their income.

Research shows that a family of four with one full-time minimum wage earner spends 66% of their income on food and rent, and one adult living alone in Ontario Works 161% spent without money. What was left over for non-negotiable living expenses like utilities and transportation.

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The health department said the effects of food insecurity make people experiencing it more likely to suffer from physical and mental health, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. Children are more likely to develop asthma and mental health conditions.

Health officials also say the impact of food insecurity is putting a huge strain on health systems, resulting in increasing costs that affect everyone.

“What we need is policies and programs at all levels of government that reduce poverty and ensure that people have access to basic healthy food and living expenses,” Hurley said. increase.

“This includes higher social assistance rates, living wage jobs and more affordable housing options in our communities. We need to reduce the proportion of precarious households in our communities. It affects us all and we all have a role to play.”

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