by Gay Cook

The NPD Group, a global research company, studied the nutrition and healthy eating in Canada and found it varied from region to region. Consumers in Ontario show greater interest with nutrition compared to other regions (22%).  Overweight/obesity rates are lowest in Quebec (56%). Consumers in Atlantic Canada are the most cautious about serving foods with sodium and saturated fat, and try to consume more foods with fibre, fruit and vegetables, and keep an eye on their cholesterol. The country’s obesity rates are highest in Newfoundland and Labrador (71%).  Consumers in the Atlantic are more likely to check labels for ingredients they are trying to avoid (70 per cent), but consider taste (80 per cent) over nutrition (68 per cent). Fruit, the country’s top snack food, is less commonly eaten in the Atlantic provinces, despite their best intentions, with Ontarians the most likely to keep fresh produce around.

Both the eating habits and the health outcomes are contrasting in eastern Canada, where French Canadians are more likely to satisfy their cravings more readily at meal time in comparison to their Atlantic counterparts. Further, being able to enjoy dishes that are easy to prepare is more important in Quebec. These residents are also less likely to skip breakfast, lunch and dinner (82 per cent enjoy full and regular meals daily), and refuse to deny themselves the foods they enjoy most.