TORONTO — As a country with a vast landscape and geography, it’s not surprising that the eating habits of Canadians vary from coast to coast. But now, a series of surveys called Health Track, conducted by the NPD Group, reveals just how unique those eating habits are.
Acording to the new survey, “Households from the Atlantic region are the most conscious of the calories they consume, but struggle with obesity,” said Joel Gregoire, author of Eating Patterns in Canada. The result, says Gregoire, is that Canadians in the Maritimes are the most likely to want to lose weight.
Twenty-two per cent of consumers in Ontario show greater interest in nutrition; however obesity rates are lowest in Quebec, measured at 56 per cent. HealthTrack also found that despite Atlantic Canada consumers being the most cautious about serving low-sodium foods and maintaining a healthy diet, the country’s obesity rates are highest — 71 per cent — in Newfoundland and Labrador. Additionally, consumers in the Atlantic region are more prone to check labels for ingredients they wish to avoid (70 per cent), but consider taste (80 per cent) over nutrition (68 per cent). Surprisingly, despite having the ocean in their backyard, Atlantic Canadians don’t eat more fish than the rest of Canada. People on the east coast do, however, consume the most pork in meals at home — four per cent of meal occasions.
The survey also found Ontarians are most likely to have fresh produce on hand, and western Canadians are the biggest snack eaters with 322 snack occasions per capita. Quebecers, on the other hand, have the fewest number of snack occasions — 300 snack occasions per capita.
“Canada is not homogenous — each region’s demographic, cultural, geographic, and economic profiles are reflected in the eating behaviours and attitudes of its population,” said Gregoire.