Seventy percent of people in Manitoba are hungry for a national school food program

many food hands
Project: Newsroom
Seventy percent of people in Manitoba support a national universal school food program.

We sponsored a province-wide survey in June 2017 asking people in Manitoba if they support a national school food program. Here are the results:

  • Thirty-four percent of people surveyed strongly support a national school food program and 37% moderately support a national school food program. 71% of people surveyed support a national school food program.
  • Twelve percent of people surveyed strongly oppose a national school food program and fifteen percent moderately oppose a national school food program. 27% of people oppose a national school food program.
  • Support is strongest among young people, women, and people in lower-income households.  Opposition is highest among people aged 55 and over, especially men.
  • Among First Nations and Metis respondents, 83% support a national school food program and 58% strongly support.
What is a national universal school food program?

A universal school food program is a program that provides students with the option to eat at least one good meal, at no cost to them or their families, while at school.  Because anyone can use the program, a universal school food program does not single out students and families who cannot access enough food.

Canada is the only OECD country (of 35 member countries) without a national school food program. A national school food program would provide guidelines and resources to the provinces, territories, and First Nations to provide universal programs in their schools.

What would a national universal school food program mean for people in Manitoba?

Schools, charities, and volunteers are doing great work to provide good meals to Manitoba students. Still, only a small fraction of school-aged kids have access to school food programs. A national universal school food program would make sure that all students from kindergarten to grade 12 have the same access to the kinds of great programs that are already available in some schools in Manitoba.

What difference can a national universal school food program make?

Eating well while at school can have a big impact on children’s health. Research shows that students who take part in school food programs eat healthier meals while at school, have a lower risk of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, anxiety and depression. Kids who eat breakfast in the morning are sick less often.

We all know what it feels like to be hungry. It’s hard to think, we get grumpy, we struggle to concentrate. When students are nourished and not hungry they have more energy, are able to focus, and perform better at school. In one study, students who regularly ate breakfast were 1.3 times more likely to graduate from high school.

A national universal school food program has the potential to make sure school-aged children eat good food during the school day.

National school food program MB

 

support for a national school food program broken down by demographic

 

How was the survey done?

Probe Research Inc. spoke to 1,000 adults in Manitoba and asked them the following question:

“There have been calls for a Canada-wide school food program to ensure all school-aged kids, regardless of family income, have access to healthy food at no cost while at school. Some say that school food programs have been shown to improve the health and learning abilities of children, while others say a national school food program could cost taxpayers as much as $1 billion and that existing provincial programs are adequate. What do you think? Is a national school food program something that you strongly support, moderately support, moderately oppose or strongly oppose?”

For more information about the poll contact: communications@foodmattersmanitoba.ca

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