Social determinants of food insecurity

Food insecurity does not affect all Canadians equally, and there are very clear social patterns of vulnerability. Analyses of population survey data consistently identify low-income as a predictor of household food insecurity. In addition, rates of food insecurity are highest among Aboriginal Canadians, households reliant on social assistance, households headed by single mothers, and those renting rather than owning a home.

There has been less research conducted to examine the relationship between household food insecurity and other social determinants such as social capital (i.e. the value derived from social connections, social networks) and neighbourhood factors (i.e. proximity to supermarkets and community food programs). Lack of retail food access is commonly thought to be a significant barrier to food security, but there has been little direct examination of this.  However, one recent study of families in high-poverty Toronto neighbourhoods found no relationship between geographic access to food retail and household food insecurity; 79% of households in this study were food-insecure despite the presence of discount supermarkets in their neighbourhoods.

The following articles present research on social determinants of food insecurity:

A natural experimental study of the protective effect of home ownership on household food insecurity in Canada before and after a recession (2008–2009)
McIntyre L, Wu X, Kwok C, Emery H.
Canadian Journal of Public Health 2017; 108(2): e135–e144.
[Abstract]

High vulnerability to household food insecurity in a sample of Canadian renter households in government-subsidized housing
Fafard St-Germain AA, Tarasuk V.
Canadian Journal of Public Health 2017; 108(2): e129–e134.
[Abstract]

Economic predictors of household food insecurity in Canadian metropolitan areas
Sriram U, Tarasuk V.
Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition 2016; 11(4): 441-445.
[Abstract]

Homeowner versus non-homeowner differences in household food insecurity in Canada
McIntyre L, Wu X, Fleisch VC, Emery JCH.
Journal of Housing and the Built Environment 2015; 31(2): 349-366.
[Abstract]

Changes in household food insecurity rates in Canadian metropolitan areas from 2007 to 2012
Sriram U, Tarasuk V.
Canadian Journal of Public Health 2015; 106(5), E322-E327
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When working is not enough: Food insecurity in the Canadian labour force
McIntyre L, Bartoo AC, Emery JH.
Public Health Nutrition 2014; 17(1): 49-57.
[Abstract]

Determinants of food insecurity in higher-income households in Canada
Olabiyia OM, McIntyre L.
Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition 2014; 9(4): 433-448.
[Abstract]

Women respondents report higher household food insecurity than do men in similar Canadian households
Matheson J, McIntyre L.
Public Health Nutrition 2014; 17(1): 40-48.
[Abstract]

Place and food insecurity: A critical review and synthesis of the literature
Carter MA, Dubois L, Tremblay M.
Public Health Nutrition 2014; 17(1): 94-112.
[Abstract]

Severity of household food insecurity is sensitive to change in household income and employment status among low-income families
Loopstra R, Tarasuk V.
Journal of Nutrition 2013; 143(8): 1316-1323.
[Abstract]

Local social environmental factors are associated with household food insecurity in a longitudinal study of children
Carter MA, Dubois, L, Tremblay MS, Talijaard M.
BMC Public Health 2012; 12: 1038-1048.
[Free Full Text]

Housing circumstances are associated with household food access among low-income urban families
Kirkpatrick S, Tarasuk V.
Journal of Urban Health 2011; 88(2): 284-296.
[Free Full Text]

Food insecurity among Latin American recent immigrants in Toronto
Vahabi M, Damba C, Rocha C, Montoya EC.
Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 2011; 13(5): 929-939.
[Abstract]

Associations between household food insecurity and health outcomes in the Aboriginal population (excluding reserves).
Willows N, Veugelers P, Raine K, Kuhle S.
Health Reports 2011; 22(2): 1-6.
[Free Full Text]

Assessing the relevance of neighbourhood characteristics to the household food security of low-income Toronto families
Kirkpatrick  S, Tarasuk V.
Public Health Nutrition 2010; 13: 1139-1148.
[Abstract]

Household food insecurity in Ontario
Tarasuk V, Vogt J.
Canadian Journal of Public Health 2009; 100: 184-188.
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Prevalence and sociodemographic risk factors related to household food insecurity in Aboriginal peoples in Canada
Willows ND, Veugelers P, Raine K, Kuhle S.
Public Health Nutrition 2009; 12(8): 1150-1156.
[Abstract]

Food Insecurity in Canada: Considerations for Monitoring
Kirkpatrick SI, Tarasuk V.
Canadian Journal of Public Health 2008; 99(4): 324-327.
[Free Full Text]

Socio-demographic influences on food purchasing among Canadian households
Ricciuto L, Tarasuk V, Yatchew A.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006; 60: 778-790.
[Free Full Text]

Food insecurity of low-income lone mothers and their children in Atlantic Canada
McIntyre L, Glanville NT, Officer S, Anderson B, Raine KD, Dayle JB.
Canadian Journal of Public Health 2002; 93: 411-415.
[Free Full Text]

Food insecurity in Canadian households
Che J, Chen J.
Health Reports 2001; 12(4): 11-22.
[Free Full Text]