Canada ranks #25 on Oxfam’s ‘Good Enough to Eat’ global food index

Nadine Kalinauskas
Shine On
January 17, 2014
family eating
Canada ranks 25th on Oxfam's "Good Enough to Eat" global food index. (Thinkstock)

Oxfam just released "Good Enough to Eat," a global food index that looks at four core food concerns in 125 countries, indicating the best and worst places to eat.

The four core concerns:

1. Do people have enough to eat?
2. Can people afford to eat?
3. Is food of good quality?
4. What are the health outcomes of people's diet?

According to Oxfam's research, the Netherlands has the world's best diet, largely in part to its comparatively low food prices, love diabetes levels and impressive nutritional diversity. France and Switzerland tied for second place.

Also making the top 10 are Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy and Portugal.

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Chad, where one in three children is underweight, came in last, just behind Ethiopia and Angola.

See an interactive infographic of the report here.

Canada ranked 25th, largely because of the country's growing struggle with obesity and unhealthy eating.

"Too many families in too many countries are struggling to feed themselves. For some there just isn’t enough food. For many more, the challenge is the cost or quality or diets that undermine their health. Even in a wealthy country like Canada there’s a big gap between what people need and what they get," says Robert Fox, Executive Director at Oxfam Canada.

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"We need to recognize that despite there being enough food to go around, some countries do not have sufficient, healthy and affordable food."

Fox adds that, in Canada, accessing good food is a real problem for many aboriginal communities, citing that more than half of children in Nunavut live in "food insecure households."

The U.S., which has the most cheap food available in the world but also has high diabetes and obesity rates, placed ahead of us: it tied for 21st place with Japan.

"Food is very, very cheap in the U.S. compared to most countries," says Oxfam's Max Lawson. "But the fact is you end up with people malnourished in one of the richest countries because they don't have access to fresh vegetables at a cheap enough price to make a balanced diet."

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"Despite the huge technological advances of modern times, we are still failing to provide people with the basic sustenance they need to survive and eat healthily. This index shows how it is a phenomenon felt most starkly in poor countries, but not exclusively. Few countries are deserving of silver service status, with obesity, food prices and nutrition rates undermining the records of many of the richest countries – a burden which often weighs heaviest on their poorest citizens," Oxfam concludes.

"Basically, if you arrive from Mars and design a food system, you probably couldn't design a worse one than what we have today on Earth," Lawson tells The Salt. "There is enough food overall in the world to feed everyone. But 900 million people still don't have enough to eat, and 1 billion people are obese. It's a crazy situation."

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