A lack of nutritional food is having detrimental effects on Canadian students and Aboriginal children are amongst the most affected, a new report says.

The report, commissioned by the Conference Board of Canada, is calling on all provinces and territories to establish meal programs to reduce hunger amongst students and improve academic achievement.

Alison Howard, one of the report’s co-authors, says Aboriginal households suffer greater food insecurity than the national average.

“We do see higher rates of food insecurity seen in Aboriginal households compared to non-Aboriginal households, it is in the range of 21 versus seven per cent,” she says.

The report says at-risk populations, such as Aboriginal people, single parent families and recent immigrants, should be the focus of outreach programming.

It adds children and youth are over-represented amongst the almost two million individuals who suffer from “food insecurity” in Canada.

Household food insecurity is defined as a state in which nutritious food is unavailable or unaffordable or the supply is unstable.

Income plays a the largest factor in determining whether or not a household is food insecure.

The Conference Board says Canada is the only G8 country without a national school-based meal program.