Canadians identify barriers to healthy eating

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Percent Healthy eating Nutrition

Despite high awareness of the importance of healthy eating, most Canadians see barriers to doing so, according to the latest annual report on the nation’s health commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos-Reid, examined links between the recession and health through an online survey of 3,223 Canadian adults from June 25 to July 11.

It found that more than half of Canadians are worried about their health and that there is a consistent gradient between income, education level and the way that people have changed the way they eat during the recession. For example, the poll found that overall, 16 percent of respondents said they had skipped meals to save money – but 28 percent of those who earn $30,000 or less said they had done so, compared to eight percent of those with a household income above $90,000.

Healthy eating awareness…

“Despite high awareness of the benefits of healthy eating, Canadians also recognize barriers to doing so,”​ the report said.

The poll found that the vast majority of respondents agreed with several statements about the benefits of eating healthy food, including 93 percent agreeing that it can “reduce health problems associated with aging”, ​92 percent saying that it can “add years to life”​, 90 percent that it “helps to prevent disease”​, 84 percent that it “makes it easy to avoid gaining weight”,​ and 83 percent that it “helps one deal with everyday stress”.

The report added that 84 percent said they know how to shop for healthy foods.

…And barriers

But many Canadians feel overwhelmed by the amount of information that is available about how to eat healthily. Just under half (48 percent) said “there is too much to know about healthy eating”.

Nearly three in four (72 percent), cited money as a major barrier to choosing healthy foods, saying “it costs more to eat healthy food.”

Other barriers included time, with 38 percent saying that “it’s hard to find time to eat healthy food”​ and 34 percent saying “healthy food takes too long to prepare.”

Nearly a quarter (23 percent) said they did not know how to prepare healthy food.

The full report can be found online here​.

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