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Can J Public Health. 2006 May-Jun;97(3):258-60.

Economic abuse and intra-household inequities in food security.

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  • 1Health Studies Program, School of Physical and Health Education, Queen's University, Kingston, ON.


Food insecurity affected over 2.3 million Canadians in 2004. To date, the food security literature has not considered the potential impact of economic abuse on food security, but there are three ways in which these two important public health issues may be related: 1) victims of economic abuse are at risk of food insecurity when they are denied access to adequate financial resources; 2) the conditions that give rise to food insecurity may also precipitate intimate partner violence in all its forms; 3) women who leave economically abusive intimate heterosexual relationships are more likely to live in poverty and thus are at risk of food insecurity. This paper presents a case of one woman who, during a qualitative research interview, spontaneously reported economic abuse and heterosexual interpersonal violence. The economic abuse suffered by this participant appears to have affected her food security and that of her children, while her husband's was apparently unaffected. There is an urgent need to better understand the nature of intra-household food distribution in food-insecure households and the impact of economic abuse on its victims' food security. Such an understanding may lead to improved food security measurement tools and social policies to reduce food insecurity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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