Sarah Carten, Day 6

Most people this week have asked me this week how hungry I am.  That question doesn’t get at the heart of the health impact of living on such limited funds.  This issue isn’t just about hunger.

Living in constant worry about food would likely impact my health far more than hunger itself.

As a dietitian, I could also analyse the health impact of my food choices (negligible in calcium and vitamin D; no omega-3’s; excess sodium; etc).

But I also think that the stress of worrying that my poor quality diet isn’t good for me, would likely impact my health more than my lack of nutrients.

Beyond these two significant worries, the lack of social contact would be the next strike against my health.

I had a quiet weekend because of the Challenge.  I wasn’t going to invite anyone over for brunch or dinner to share in my meagre rations.  I wasn’t going to suggest meeting anyone at a restaurant, bar or coffee shop where I would be unable to buy anything.  For one week, this lack of camaraderie, social interaction and support is fine.  But it would definitely hurt my psyche over the long term.

This week has been useful for me to understand at a much deeper level why it is that poverty has such a significant impact on health, well-being and use of the health care system.  If we want to have any hope of addressing our over-burdened health care system, we need to reduce poverty.

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