Huron County, ON – The cost of groceries in Huron County has risen 24% since 2009. The Huron County Health Unit has released its 2016 findings in its annual The Real Cost of Eating Well in Huron report. But according to public health dietitian Amy MacDonald, the real problem is not the cost of food. “Families and individuals living on limited incomes, those who are making minimum wage or on social assistance, don’t have enough money to buy nutritious foods, pay bills, and purchase all other necessities.”
MacDonald goes on to say, “Families and individuals are cutting their food budgets to make ends meet. We know this has a negative impact on their health and quality of life.” MacDonald cites research that says the costs to the health care system increase by as much as 76% when people can’t afford to purchase enough food.
Every May, health units across Ontario complete a food costing survey in local grocery stores to approximate the weekly and monthly cost of food for families and individuals. MacDonald says every year, it says the same thing; food costs are increasing faster than incomes.
The Huron County Health Unit is asking Huron County residents to learn more about food poverty and to support income strategies that will give all residents the means to purchase nutritious food. This includes asking for living wages, supporting federal and provincial basic income guarantee, increasing social assistance rates to reflect the actual cost of living, updating employment standards, and providing drug and dental health benefits for all local income Ontarians.
The full report may be found at: huronhealthunit.ca/eatingwell2016
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