Disparities in Food Insecurity: An Indigenous Public Health Perspective
Food security is foundational for health and the prevention of chronic diseases during the course of a human’s life. The fact that about 1 in 6 households were food insecure during the previous year in both the United States and Canada raises a public health concern. Some groups suffer more food insecurity than others. In Canada, northern Aboriginal people have the worst rates of food insecurity due to (i) lack of access to their traditional food sources, (ii) the cost of importing food, and (iii) high poverty rates. Poverty and food insecurity are closely linked. Income support programs, federal food assistance, and nutrition programs are national strategies that can address food insecurity. Equally essential are local food security strategies that engage communities to address their realties, needs, and assets. Research, if matched to need, can make contributions by evaluating promising food security strategies in the short- and long-term.
This policy position paper was written by Dr. Treena Delormier, Assistant Professor, University of Hawai’i Office of Public Health Studies, Honolulu, Hawai’I, U.S. It is part of the ISGP conference Equitable, Sustainable and Healthy Food Environments, convened in partnership with Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in May 2016.