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Food Insecurity and Impacts on Mental Health for Children and Families


As kids return to school, local food groups say they are seeing an increase in children going to class hungry. We know that both positive and negative experiences shape a child’s development and impact health and mental wellbeing over their lives.

ACEs – Adverse Childhood Experiences are potentially traumatic or stressful experiences such as poverty – food insecurity that may happen in a person’s life before the age of 18. ACEs can increase the risk of negative health behaviours and outcomes later in life.

We are seeing a rise in precarious work, housing unaffordability, and systemic oppression this all contributes to rising food insecurity and in turn stress that families are facing. The inability to access food directly impacts our physical and mental health.

These households are often forced to make difficult and stressful decisions due to low or fixed incomes, such as having to choose between paying rent and buying groceries.

Stats Can study shows the number of people surveyed who reported poor mental health was higher among people in households with moderate or severe food insecurity. Food insecurity is linked to higher rates of depression, stress, and anxiety. There is also a sense of shame, which can significantly impact someone’s feeling of social acceptance.  For those who need them, food assistance programs play a vital role in our community.

Watch our interview on CTV Kitchener: Additional supports requested as roughly 3,000 Waterloo Region children face food insecurity | CTV News

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