Survey on Eating Habits

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Canadians’ eating habits
Objectives This report is an overview of Canadians’ eating habits: total calories consumed and the number of servings from the various food groups, as well as the percentage of total calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates. Data sources The data are from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) - Nutrition. Published results from the 1970-1972 Nutrition Canada Survey were used for comparisons over time. Analytical techniques An initial 24-hour dietary recall was completed by 35,107 people. A subsample of 10,786 completed a second recall 3 to 10 days later. Data collected in the first interview day were used to estimate, by selected characteristics, average calorie intake and average percentages of calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates. Usual intake of macronutrients was estimated with the Software for Intake Distribution Estimation (SIDE) program, using data from both interview days. Main results Although a minimum of five daily servings of vegetables and fruit is recommended, 7 out of 10 children aged 4 to 8 and half of adults did not meet this minimum in 2004. More than a third of 4- to 9-year-olds did not have the recommended two daily servings of milk products. Over a quarter of Canadians aged 31 to 50 obtained more than 35% of their total calories from fat. Snacks account for more calories than breakfast, and about the same number of calories as lunch. ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Didier Garriguet


t home, at work or at school, in a five-star restaurant or in a neighbourhood take-out, Canadians can chooose from an ever-increasing

variety of foods. Grocery stores offer an abundance of imported products, along with frozen meals that can be ready in minutes to satisfy the needs of time-crunched households. Fresh fruits and vegetables once considered exotic are now available throughout the year. And today, fast food has become part of a typical diet. In the midst of this array of choices, just what are Canadians eating? The 2004 Canadian Community Health Sur vey (CCHS)—Nutrition was the first national survey of Canadians’ eating habits since the early 1970s. It was the largest and most comprehensive survey of its kind ever conducted in Canada. Throughout 2004, over 35,000 people were asked to recall what they had eaten during the previous 24 hours. They were also asked when they ate—breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks—and where the food they ate had been prepared—at home, in a restaurant, or in a fast-food outlet.


diet, dietary habits, eating, energy intake, food intake, nutrition, nutrition surveys


Didier Garriguet (613-951-7187; is with the Health Statistics Division at Statistics Canada, Ottawa, K1A 0T6.

Health Reports, Vol. 18, No. 2, May 2007

Statistics Canada, Catalogue 82-003


Canadians’ eating habits

Methods Data source
Most of the data in this analysis are from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) - Nutrition, which was designed to collect information about the dietary habits of Canadians ( concepts/hs). The CCHS excludes members of the regular Canadian Forces and people living in the territories, on Indian reserves, in institutions, in some remote regions, and all residents (military and civilian) of Canadian Forces bases. Detailed descriptions of the CCHS design, sample and interview procedures are available in a published report.1 An initial 24-hour dietary recall was completed by 35,107 people; a subsample (10,786) completed a second recall 3 to 10 days later. A fivestep method was used to maximize recollection of food consumed the previous day: • a quick list (respondents reported all items in whatever order they wished) • questions about specific food categories and frequently forgotten foods • questions about the time and type of meal • questions seeking more...
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