STUDY: Food insecurity takes significant toll on Ontario health care system

Dr. Valerie Tarasuk from the University of Toronto is one of the lead investigators with the interdisciplinary, internationally-based group of researchers called PROOF that is working to identify attributes of effective policy approaches to improve household food insecurity in Canada.  Dr. Tarasuk is considered an expert in food security.

Dr. Tarasuk’s most recent research connected reported food security status of Ontario adults from the Canadian Community Health Survey and linked it to health care data to determine individuals’ direct health care costs.   The findings clearly show that household food insecurity was a clear predictor of health care utilization.  In fact, those who reported severe food insecurity had double the health care costs.

The research also draws the conclusion that policy interventions at the provincial or federal level designed to reduce household food insecurity could offset considerable public expenditures in health care and improve overall health.

For an on-line version of the article visit

The Canadian Medical Association Journal has also posted an interesting podcast interview with Dr. Tarasuk (approximately 20 minutes long).

Media outlets also have released stories on the research: