Canada’s junk food consumption, alcohol and tobacco intake rises amid Covid-19: Survey
Canadians should look for a safe way to socialise and engage in physical activities, said chief public health officer Dr Theresa Tam.Updated: Jun 08, 2020 07:45 IST
Canadians have taken to drinking and smoking a lot more, and eating larger amounts of junk food as a fallout of the coronavirus crisis, according to a Government survey which has alarmed health authorities.
With restrictive measures in place for over 75 days due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Canadians have significantly increased their intake of junk food, alcohol and tobacco, leading to the country’s seniormost health official to call for “healthy food choices.”
In a statement, chief public health officer Dr Theresa Tam cited a survey from the country’s statistical agency Statistics Canada, in this regard, as she said they showed “show more Canadians have increased their consumption of alcohol and junk food or sweets since the beginning of the pandemic.”
She advised, “While social interactions and activities might look different right now, Canadians should be actively looking for safe ways to socialize, engage in physical activity and make healthy choices.”
The StatCan report pointed to a considerable increase in consumption of junk food and sweets over the period of a month. When compared with a previous survey conducted between March 29 and April 3, StatCan found more than a third of the respondents, or 35 per cent, reporting “that they were eating more junk food or sweets” as against 27 per cent earlier.
Those figures as consistent for other unhealthy habits as well, like consuming alcohol or tobacco products. “Close to one in five Canadians (19%) said that their consumption of alcohol had increased, compared with about 14% a month earlier,” StatCan noted. The number consuming more tobacco products grew from 3 per cent to 5 per cent.
While StatCan did not comment on a possible correlation, it found that almost one in five Canadians reported feelings of moderate to severe anxiety, even as they “are stricken by grief, financial hardship and labour market difficulties. Canadians are also spending extended periods at home, which can be stressful for individuals of all ages.”
However, the survey also found that Canadians were largely being careful when it came to coronavirus-related precautions. There were increases in the number of respondents saying they were practising social distancing, washing their hands more regularly and avoiding crowds or large gatherings, with more than 90 percentage for each category.
Tam said she “was pleased to see that 92% of participants confirmed they have been practising physical distancing, and 95% have reported washing their hands more regularly.” Canada has so far recorded 7800 deaths due to the coronavirus with 95684 infected.