Canadians know the benefits to healthy eating. And according to a recent study they can identify them, too.
The study, the 9th Annual National Report Card on Health Care, was conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the Canadian Medical Association. The results were released in August.
This year for the first time the study asked Canadians about their health status, their awareness of how to be healthy, as well as questions about their lifestyle habits.
Benefits to healthy eating
What the study found was that Canadians have a high awareness of the benefits of healthy eating. In the study, eight in 10 respondents agreed with several statements, including:
• healthy eating can reduce health problems associated with aging (93%)
• healthy eating can add years to life (92%)
• healthy eating can help prevent disease (90%)
• healthy eating makes it easy to avoid gaining weight (84%)
• healthy eating helps one deal with everyday stress (83%)
In addition, more than four in five respondents, or 84 per cent, say they know how to shop for healthy foods.
Consumers want healthy and easy preparation
But despite this awareness of the benefits, it seems Canadians also know what’s keeping them from eating healthy.
Many of the respondents could also identify barriers to eating healthy, including:
• it costs more to eat healthy food (72%)
• there is too much to know about healthy eating (48%)
• it’s hard to find time to eat healthy food (38%)
• healthy food takes too long to prepare (34%)
In addition, one in four, or 23 per cent, say they don’t know how to prepare healthy food.
Income, education affects eating habits
The study also asked respondents to describe their eating habits. What it found was that Canadian with lower incomes and education levels are more likely to say their eating habits need improvement.
According to the study, the proportions who describe their eating habits as just okay or not very healthy are higher among Canadians earning less than $30,000 a year (42%) and those with less than a high school education (51%) as compared to those earning $90,000 or more (30%) or with a university education (24%).
Between June 7 and June 9, 2009 Ipsos Reid surveyed 1,002 Canadian adults by telephone and between June 25 and July 11, it surveyed 3,223 Canadian adults online. The data was weighted by region, age and gender to ensure the sample accurately reflects the population according to Census data.