Canadians’ Food Choices a Cause for Concern: Report
A new study from the Conference Board of Canada shows that Canadian adults have been reducing their intake of damaging fats, while at the same time increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables. However, the nation’s eating habits haven’t changed enough to ward off such chronic diseases as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
“It’s not the individual ingredients or individual foods that matter. It’s the long-term dietary patterns that affect the risk of chronic disease,” said Daniel Munro, the study’s lead researcher.
Munro said the study’s findings show a population that isn’t doing enough to protect itself from chronic disease.
Even though Canadians have slowly been increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables – half of Canadian women and 40 per cent of Canadian men eat the recommended five servings per day – these changes aren’t enough.
We consume a shocking 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, on average. That’s well above the recommended maximum of 2,300.
Also, Canadians tend to overestimate their physical activity levels. 62 per cent of Canadians were considered overweight or obese by 2008. That includes one tenth of the country’s children aged 2 to 17.
Munro said a failure to address children’s eating habits could lead to a spike in chronic health problems that would put Canada’s healthcare system under strain.
“There is an expectation among some people that once the baby boomer generation gets through, that some of these age-related things that we see will decrease, but if dietary patterns of children are any indication, that might not be the case,” he said.
For obese individuals the Conference Board has recommended that resources be made available at the primary care level to make it easier for people to overcome the stigma of seeking medical treatment for their weight.
Many people are not able to keep extra weight off through diet or exercise alone. If these options haven’t worked for you in the past, surgical weight loss may be worth considering.
If you’re looking to lose weight, make sure to review your options with your family doctor so you can decide together on a method that is best for you.