Health is a multidimensional concept therefore it becomes possible for a person to have perfect physical health and yet be mentally ill. The concept of health is considered as the absence of disease hence it gets treated biologically, but no one scrutinizes the sociological factors that caused them in the first place. Looking through the sociological lens into the concept of health we will be astonished by the affiliation of food insecurity to biological health. Considering the sociological perspective we can dive better into the concept of food insecurity and examine poverty and obesity.
If we manipulate the factor of food insecurity it trickles down to a broader sociological cause of poverty which needs to be fixed first.
Women’s health is critically affected by food insecurity because it is the outcome of all the chaos poverty creates. The government is spending billions on healthcare while not acknowledging the sociological background that needs to be unraveled first. When people from low socioeconomic status expend money on shelter they do so upon the sacrifice of nutritious food.
The right of food is for everyone regardless of race, creed, gender, and citizenship yet Canada being generous doesn’t fulfill its duty to provide everyone with access to food. According to past approaches, the Canadian government was seen adopting various strategies to cope with this affair but different political interests changed over the course of time and the matter of food insecurity got blurred in the way.
Food insecurity brings its cost specifically at the terms of obesity which escalates CVD, diabetes, polycystic ovarian cancers, and many more diseases in women.
The cause of this social determinant of health aka food insecurity is sociological but the outcome is effecting people biologically and psychologically. Poor quality food banks used by women in the time of financial crisis cause obesity which expedites diseases in women. Such diseases extract money out of the Canadian healthcare system for their treatment; eliminating the sociological cause first that triggers food insecurity, is the only way to deal with this issue. Once these sociological causes extirpate we would be spending less money to treat these diseases biologically. When poverty prevails in society, people don’t have a secure place to live, don’t get enough money for food to survive which causes diseases in women directly and indirectly. Food security plays a quintessential role being the social determinant of health thus it should be considered equally important and medical necessity for Canadians in order to have better health outcomes.
Food insecurity should be eradicated from our society because it has detrimental effects on women’s health which includes obesity and it expedites polycystic ovarian cancers, heart diseases, and stress.
The compelling issue of food insecurity in Canada is not a new one. According to Tarasuk (2001) “In Canada, household food insecurity came out as a serious problem in the early 1980s, when hunger propelled people to depend on food temporarily from ad hoc charitable programs” (p.488). These programs got introduced for temporary needs but soon after they became the basic need of society. It is clearly indicated in his article how food banks were just brought in as a temporary food relief program and there was no intention of making it permanent. Unfortunately, the demand for food banks increased with poverty & financial insecurity and then never diminished even after when the economy improved in Canada.
Food banks and food drives became part of the routine with time as financial insecurity increased. According to Tarasuk (2001) “Food banks from food assistance programs depend and are contingent on the quality and quantity of donations gathered from public and corporate community” (p.488). The government never tackled hunger and poverty with a permanent solution which forced people to rely on food banks to survive. No food policy was introduced by the government even after the increasing need for food. Food banks are run by not-for-profit, private parties or NGOs where donations are always subject to change and with the institutionalization of food banks it is seen with great critique in terms of adequacy. Food banks don’t always contain the best quality food and more demand than supply tends to make the supply of food inferior in quantity and quality. In the end relying on food banks should not be considered as a solution because people don’t even get enough food to prevent themselves from hunger. The quality of these food banks does not match the standard nutritious content required by a male or female body.
The government of Canada in the Agri-report (1998) mentioned “Canada prepared objectives and blueprints of actions with 10 highest priorities presented by JCG at that time which included 1) Right to food 2) Reduction of Poverty etc” (p.6). These plans in 1998 were projected on the basis of agreements signed in UN to solve the issue of food insecurity by 2015 but still in 2019 we don’t have a food policy to support low-income Canadians. The government along with civilians acknowledged the fact food insecurity disturbs the other sectors of life and the need to be eradicated. The concept of food banks was introduced to eliminate the temporary poverty rush into the society that results in food insecurity but later became the biggest epidemic. Many low-income citizens, women, single-mothers rely on food banks supplied through non-profit organizations.
Canada had signed UDHR in 1948 and ICESCR in 1976 on the right of food. According to the United Nations (2019) Article 11 of ICESCR states “Right of everyone to have an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food”. Canada had signed and promised to abide by the values and commitments. Not only for Canadians but internationally Canada acknowledges the right to adequate food and will help any developing country in accessing the right to food.
According to the Government Canada (1998), Canada signed the agreement at the world food summit that mentions “We will implement policies aimed at eradicating poverty and inequality and improving physical and economic access by all, at all times, to sufficient, nutritionally adequate and safe food and its effective utilization” (p.14). The above stance clarifies how passionately the Canadian government respects the right to food and would create a policy for food insecurity. But unfortunately till now without any dubiety, the Canadian government can be seen deceitful as they are unable to fulfill international agreements and commitments. Canada still didn’t develop a food policy or any public food assistance programs in its own country to support those in need yet it made promises in the UN to support other developing countries to eliminate their food insecurity. Change starts at home but Canadian politicians are either unaware of all the previous commitments or too busy in making new mendacious commitments.
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