← Go Back

Food Insecurity for Children in Canada: a Stark Reality


View Related Content by:


Meta van den Heuvel, Jessie Hulst


Meta van den Heuvel, MD, Hospital for Sick Children
Jessie Hulst, MD, Hospital for Sick Children

Household food insecurity is a serious public health concern in Canada, and on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity is associated with multiple negative health outcomes in children. Families with children, and particularly children with chronic health conditions, are disproportionally affected by food insecurity. Food insecurity has been associated with poor child health outcomes, including obesity. In this session an overview of the prevalence of food insecurity in children in Canada will be described and a review of the nutritional effects of food insecurity will presented. Additionally, the management of food insecurity in pediatric settings, including screening for food insecurity, will be discussed. A brief update will be given about the activities of the pediatric working group of CMTF with a focus on the developed Pediatric Integrated Nutrition Pathway for Acute Care (P-INPAC) which aims to prevent, detect, monitor and treat malnutrition in acute care pediatric patients. This also includes post discharge nutrition care which could be a challenge in case of household food insecurity.


  1. Describe food insecurity in children in Canada2. Regional considerations about food access during COVID-19
  2. Evaluate the effect of food insecurity on nutrition status in children
  3. Discuss the management of food insecurity in pediatric settings

About the Speakers:

Dr. Meta van den Heuvel is a staff pediatrician at the Hospital for Sick Children and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on early child development and nutrition and its relationship with the social determinants of health in both low- and high- resource setting. In Toronto, she investigates how the social determinants, specifically food insecurity, can best be addressed in clinical settings. She works clinically in the Infant & Toddler Growth and Feeding Clinic in the Hospital for Sick Children and one day in a community pediatric practice.

Dr. Jessie Hulst is a staff gastroenterologist in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Department of Nutritional Sciences of the University of Toronto. Before joining Sick Kids in July 2018, she was a Staff Gastroenterologist in Sophia Children's Hospital, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, from 2011-2018. Dr. Hulst obtained her PhD on the topic of nutritional assessment in critically ill children in 2004 and has been involved in both national and international research about this topic since. In 2009, she developed a simple nutritional (risk) screening tool (STRONGkids), which is used in multiple hospitals around the world. As the Chair of Pediatric section of the Dutch Malnutrition Taskforce she was involved in the development and implementation of a nationwide pediatric malnutrition pathway and development of mandatory National Hospital Quality Indicators on pediatric malnutrition. She is currently the co-chair of the Pediatric working group of the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force and working on the implementation of a pediatric Malnutrition Pathway in Canada. At Sickkids, Jessie is running a complex Nutrition clinic, she is the hospital PN medical lead and the chair of the Nutritional Advisory Committee. She has published > 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts and >10 book chapters.

Original Source: "Canadian Malnutrition Awareness Week Webinar" Thursday, October 6, 2022

Length: 0:59:51

Type: File

Last Updated: October 6, 2022

Name Type
van den Heuvel - Food Insecurity for children in Canada File
Hulst - Update from pediatric CMTF working group File
Food Insecurity for Children in Canada: a Stark Reality Video
© 2024 CNS-SCN - Canadian Nutrition Society