Valerie Tarasuk Ph.D.
Department of Nutritional Sciences

Ph: 416.978.0618
Fax: 416.978.5882

Primary Affiliations:

  • Nutritional Sciences

Other Affiliations:

  • Cross-appointed to Dalla Lana School of Public Health;
    Research Associate in the Centre for Urban and Community Studies, University of Toronto.


  • BA, BEd, BASc, MSc, PhD

Current Students:

  • Jocelyn Sacco
  • Rachel Masters
  • Dunja Sumanac
  • Tyler Pettes
  • Elietha Bocskei (University of Victoria – co-supervisor)


  • Much of Valerie Tarasuk’s research is focused on food insecurity, elucidating the scope and nature of household food insecurity in Canada and examining policy and programmatic responses.  Her work has included studies of food banks and food bank users, homeless youth and community responses to the food needs of homeless and under-housed individuals, a study of housing, neighbourhood characteristics and food access among low-income Toronto families, an examination of meal services in Salvation Army shelters, and analyses of population survey data to elucidate the health, nutritional, and sociodemographic correlates of household food insecurity in Canada.  She currently leads a large, interdisciplinary program of research designed to identify effective policy interventions for the reduction of household food insecurity in Canada.  This work is supported by a CIHR Programmatic Grant to Tackle Health and Health Equity. 

    Valerie Tarasuk’s research interests also extend to Canadian food policy, population-level dietary assessment, and the application and interpretation of Dietary Reference Intakes.  Her recent work in this area includes a series of studies to examine the population health implications of discretionary food fortification (led by doctoral candidate, Jocelyn Sacco), a broad-based study of nutrition-related food marketing in Canadian supermarkets, and an examination of nutrition inequities in Canada.  

Recent publications:

  • S Kirkpatrick, V Tarasuk.  Housing circumstances are associated with household food access among low-income urban families.  Journal of Urban Health 2011. doi:10.1007/s11524-010-9535-4.

  • J Sacco, V Tarasuk.  Discretionary addition of nutrients to foods: implications for healthy eating. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010: 1-8.  doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.261.

  • Kirkpatrick, S. and V. Tarasuk. Assessing the relevance of neighbourhood characteristics to the household food security of low-income Toronto families. Public Health Nutrition. 2010; 13(7): 1139-1148.

  • V Tarasuk.  Policy directions to promote healthy dietary patterns in Canada. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.  2010; 35: 229-233.

  • V Tarasuk, S Fitzpatrick, H Ward.  Nutrition inequities in Canada.  Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.  2010; 35: 172-179.

  • V Tarasuk, N Dachner.  The proliferation of charitable meal programs in Toronto.  Canadian Public Policy. 2009; XXXV (4): 433-450.

  • J Sacco, V Tarasuk. Health Canada’s proposed discretionary fortification policy is misaligned with the nutritional needs of Canadians.  Journal of Nutrition, 2009;139(10): 1980-1986.

  • V Tarasuk, J Vogt. Household food insecurity in Ontario. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 2009; 100(3): 184-188. 

  • S Kirkpatrick, V Tarasuk.  Food insecurity and participation in community food programs among
    low-income Toronto families. Canadian Journal of Public Health 2009; 100(2): 135-139.

  • PubMed





Faculty of Medicine
University of Toronto
FitzGerald Building, Room 326
150 College Street
Toronto, ON
M5S 3E2