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Int J Circumpolar Health. 1998;57 Suppl 1:182-8.

Food affordability in air stage communities.

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  • 1Dialogos Educational Consultants, Quebec, Canada.


In 1991 and 1992, changes were made to the rate structure and eligibility requirements of the Northern Air Stage Program. To determine the effect of these changes on the affordability of a nutritious diet, food price surveys were conducted in 20 isolated communities, staging points, and selected southern cities and used to cost a 46-item Northern Nutritious Food Basket (NFB), which meets the nutrient requirements of a reference family of four. Food affordability was calculated as the percentage of "after-shelter" social assistance income required to purchase the NFB. In the Northwest Territories (NWT), from 100% to 123% of income was required in Air Stage communities in 1990-1991 and from 86% to 125% in 1993. In the provinces, from 65% to 83% of income was needed in 1990-1991 and from 56% to 98% in 1993. In Kangiqsujuaq and Nain, the amount of "after-shelter" income needed increased by as much as 6% and 15%, respectively. Changes to the Northern Air Stage Program reduced the cost of perishable foods and improved the affordability of a nutritious diet in the NWT. Affordability is also affected by social assistance income. In most isolated communities, families would still find it difficult to afford a nutritious diet.

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