Canadians Get Healthy

By / Magazine / April 12th, 2011 / 1

It turns out that Canadians have been heeding the call of doctors and dietitians. A recent survey found that 76 per cent of us are making healthier eating choices now versus three years ago. The 55+ age group is leading the way with 80 per cent consistently making healthier eating choices, followed by 76% of 35 to 54 year olds and 73% of 18 to 34 year olds. Where do you place in the rankings? Regionally, residents of British Columbia and Alberta are ahead of the pack with 82 per cent of respondents claiming they are eating healthier now than three years ago. Ontarians followed closely with 77 per cent eating healthier.

But, in this time of rising food prices, eating healthier isn’t always easier. The findings revealed that the biggest barrier to healthier food choices is perceived cost followed by concerns around taste. “Eating healthier doesn’t have to be expensive or lack flavour,” says dietitian Tina Stewart. “If you know how to shop wisely and learn how to replace some recipe ingredients with easy, flavourful  alternatives, you can be on your way to leading a healthier lifestyle.” Think about it. Food that is sold partially or wholly prepared is necessarily going to cost a lot more than purchasing the raw ingredients of that same meal. All of those people that sliced, diced, cooked and packed the food have to be paid. Packaged foods often have added sodium, fats and preservatives, too.

Healthy Bites

• The biggest change Canadians have made to their diet year over year was eating more fresh foods (42 per cent), followed by reducing sodium intake (38 per cent) and reducing fat intake (36 per cent).

• Almost 7 out of 10 Canadians (67 per cent) are influenced by nutritional information on packages when making a purchase.

• Compared to last year, the biggest change in Canadian men’s habits has been reducing sodium intake (44 per cent), while almost half of Canadian women have begun eating more fresh foods (44 per cent).

• Regarding sodium intake, residents of the Atlantic provinces are most concerned, with 45 per cent of them reducing their sodium intake compared to last year.

• Four of ten (39 per cent) residents from British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have reduced their sugar consumption.

• At 40 per cent, Quebeckers report reducing their fat consumption more than residents of other provinces year over year.



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