An article in the Star today points out that food hampers are low in nutrition and calories.
I think most of us could file this one under DUH!
The study, published today in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, analyzed 180 food hampers at a large urban food bank in southwestern Ontario and found that 99 per cent of those hampers, which are supposed to supply three days’ worth of food, only contained enough calories for 1.6 days.
The hampers only met recommendations for grains and cereals, just one of the four food groups outlined in Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating.
They did not provide enough dairy or meat products or fruits and vegetables and many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12 and calcium, were also well below recommended levels.
About 820,600 Canadians rely on a food bank each month and 40 per cent of those users are children. Studies have shown that people who aren’t getting enough calories or nutrients can develop anemia and are at higher risk of depression, obesity and some chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.
Notice that? Obesity. It drives me mad to hear people talk about poor people assuming they must have plenty to eat because they don’t look skeletal.
Every other commercial is for a diet product, obesity is held up as the cause for everything from heart disease to hangnails.
Where in all this is the acknowledgement that the stereotype of the lazy couch potato is only one part of the equation?
The food additives causing precocious puberty, cancers, and other illnesses. The corn syrup which is added to so many foods that actually interferes with the bodys ability to register as full. And the inability of many to shop for good food after they have paid for shelter are much more serious pieces of the puzzle.
Yet it is simpler to, as with poverty, accuse people of making themselves fat.
It is easier to shame people than to adopt programs that enable people to earn decent levels of income for a day’s work, to provide welfare which doesn’t punish people, to allow people who have earned the right to actually collect the EI benefits they have paid.
Food is not a privilege, it is a right.
It is absolutely inexcusable that we allow anyone, ANYONE, to go hungry.
You’ll notice also that the article refers to addressing food insecurity.
Food insecurity should properly be spelled H-U-N-G-E-R.
That food banks exist at all should be a source of shame, that we have adopted the Bushites term of food insecurity is unconscionable.