CMAJ article links hunger in residential schools to Type 2 diabetes, obesity
Widespread, prolonged hunger that existed in residential schools is a contributing factor in the disproportionate health issues facing many Indigenous people, such as diabetes and obesity, according to an article published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
"Hunger is really central to the experiences of residential school survivors," says Ian Mosby who co-authored the article with Tracy Galloway, both with the University of Toronto.
They say childhood malnutrition experienced in many government-funded schools is contributing to the higher risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease among Indigenous people in adulthood.
"While this wasn't every single residential school," says Mosby, "it's common enough through survivor testimony that we need to start looking at hunger in residential schools as a real predictor of long-term health problems."
Residential schools across Canada faced significant underfunding, along with inadequate cooking facilities and untrained staff. Historians and former students have described children getting "one or two pieces of stale bread for lunch. Rarely getting meat, rarely getting milk and butter, and few fruits and vegetables," says Mosby.
He estimates many students received 1,000 to 1,400 calories a day. A normal range for a child's healthy development is 1,400 to 3,200.
Famine studies in China, Russia and the Netherlands show height-stunted youth developed greater insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels, making them prone to developing Type 2 diabetes, the article notes.
That, paired with hormone changes from lack of foo Continue reading