Thursday, 28 August 2008

Would people experiencing food insecurity use any additional income to buy food?

(that is, would they just fritter it away?)

Yesterday, several journalists asked me variants of that question.

I replied that the evidence available suggests that whenever cash flow improves, so do the diets of people experiencing food insecurity.

Work published in the Journal of Nutrition by Valerie Tarasuk, Jinguang Li, and my co-author Lynn McIntyre, for example, found that "The food intakes of women in deprived circumstances are sensitive to the decline in household resources following the receipt of a monthly check."

In a separate article, published in Public Health Nutrition, they conclude, "Food-insecure women would sustain substantive nutritional gains if they had greater access to their personal healthy food preferences," including fresh milk.

Michelle Schurman, who covers > Healthbeat for Global Calgary, highlighted the money-for-food question in relation to the "properity cheque" of $400 mailed to every resident of Alberta in early 2006.

Francis Silvaggio also tackled the income issue head-on in his report for Global National (> Global National Stories > Mac and cheese).

Let's see some policy innovations in income supports, and let's monitor the effects on nutrition and food security. And let's commit to a a national survey to update the CCHS 2.2 results from 2004, and to assess the impact of political and economic changes since that time.

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