Conference Board of Canada Recommends a National Meal Program

In August 2013, the Conference Board of Canada released a study that outlined the importance behind a national meal program to alleviate hunger and poor nutrition in our students. The report indicated that:

  • All schools in all provinces and territories should provide meal programs to help their students alleviate hunger and poor nutrition and to support their performance at school, The Conference Board of Canada recommends in a new report from its Centre for Food in Canada.
  • Children and youth are over-represented among the almost two million individuals in Canada that suffer from “food insecurity” – a situation in which nutritious food is sometimes or always unavailable or unaffordable.
  • “As students head back to school this fall, only some will have the benefit of good meal programs operating across the country. Canada is the only G8 country without a national school-based feeding program,” said Alison Howard, Principal Research Associate, and co-author of Enough for All: Household Food Security in Canada.
  • “Children that lack proper diets are less able to concentrate and perform well at school, which makes it more difficult to learn the skills they will need as adults. Ensuring that all children and youth have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious foods for their everyday activities are critical for a vulnerable population.”

Breakfast for Learning is keenly aware of this importance of this issue and understands that 1 in 7 Canadian kids still live in poverty and are at risk of falling behind school by grade 3. The percentage is higher for aboriginal children (1 in 4). There are many reasons to support students: we know more than 30% of elementary students and more than 60% of secondary students in Canada go to school undernourished.

At Breakfast for Learning, we work to provide the best chance of success for our Canadian students. In the last school year (2012/13), we helped provide more than 53 million balanced meals and snacks to over 349,500 students across the country.

See the full Conference Board of Canada’s report here

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Household food insecurity is defined as a state in where nutritious food is unavailable or unaffordable, or the supply is not stable. About 7.7 per cent of Canadian households were “food insecure” in 2007-08.
  • Household income has the greatest impact on whether a household or family will be food insecure.
  • Children that are deprived of proper diets are both less healthy and less likely to succeed at school, which affects their physical and economic well-being for the rest of their lives.