Skip to main content

Nutritious diets unaffordable for many B.C. families and those with low income: BCCDC

The struggle to keep up with our province's sky-high cost of living is being highlighted in a new report from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Nutritious diets are unaffordable for many B.C. families and people with low-incomes, the findings show.

The Food Costing in BC 2022 report assesses the affordability of healthy eating for British Columbians.

It found that the average monthly cost of a nutritious diet for a family of four in B.C. in May and June 2022 was $1,263.

“Food insecurity is a significant public health issue,” said Dr. Geoff McKee, medical director of population and public health at the BCCDC.

“The price of food does not affect everyone equally and the root cause of household food insecurity is low incomes,” McKee wrote in the report. .

The BCCDC typically issues a report every two years, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first food costing report since 2017.

The study researches the cost of 61 food items at grocery stores in different parts of the province.

The average monthly costs last year in the five regional health authorities ranged from $1,193 for Fraser Health to $1,366 for Island Health.

The report showed many people who live on low incomes—and especially those why rely on income or disability assistance—cannot afford a nutritious diet after paying rent.

About four per cent of people in B.C. experience severe food insecurity.

That means missing meals, reducing intake, or not eating for a day or more at a time.

Nearly 15 per cent of British Columbians struggle to put food on the table.

“Household food insecurity takes a major toll on people's physical and mental health, social and emotional wellbeing, and on our provincial health care system,” said Dr. Charmaine Enns, the medical health officer of Island Health.

Children and youth without consistent access to healthy food may experience an increased risk of anemia, lower nutrient intake, asthma and hospitalization.

They also have poorer academic outcomes and social skills.

Adults living in food insecure households report higher rates of chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

“It can also lead to symptoms of anxiety, sleep disturbance, social isolation and depression,” reads the report.

Studies have found that health care costs are up to 76 per cent higher for food insecure adults compared to those with sufficient access to healthy food. Top Stories

Tragedy in real time: The Armenian exodus from Nagorno-Karabakh

For the past five days, vehicles laden with refugees have poured into Armenia, fleeing from the crumbling enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in neighbouring Azerbaijan. In a special report for, journalist Neil Hauer recounts what it's like on the ground in Armenia.

Stay Connected