Are Canadians skipping meals? A new study finds they are
A new study from Dalhousie University finds that certain demographics in Canada are skipping more meals and choosing instead to snack
Food In Canada
Health & Wellness
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
Halifax, NS – Many Canadian consumers are skipping meals – and it’s not just breakfast.
A new study out of Dalhousie University has found “that women, people with lower incomes and those with a high-school education” are opting for snacks rather than having three proper meals.
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of food distribution and policy of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie led the study, which is called Disintegration of food habits: A look at the socioeconomics of food, the blurring lines between traditional meals and out-of-household food consumption. Simon Somogyi, an associate profession in the Faculty of Agriculture; and Sara Kirk, professor in health promotion in the School of Health and Human Performance and scientific director of the Healthy Populations Institute, both co-authored the study.
In a statement, the university says the study found that “women are three times more likely to skip” the most important meal of the day than men.
Single people “are twice as likely to skip breakfast as those who are married or divorced. In BC, consumers skip breakfast “three times the rate of other Canadians.”
And consumers who earn less than $40,000 per year “are also three times more likely to skip breakfast.”
When it comes to boomers versus millennials, boomers “are twice as likely to prepare breakfast at home than millennials.”
Ontarians like the on-the-go trend for breakfast or they’ll stop at a restaurant more than any other Canadian.
The study says there are some similar patterns for the mid-day meal.
Women are more likely to skip it than men, and “single people are more likely to skip lunch than either married or divorced people.”
Those Canadians who are 21 or younger “with only a high school education are more likely to skip lunch as well.”
Eating at our desks at work is also popular with Canadians. But seems to be highest in the Maritimes with 50 per cent of consumers admitting to it.
Many Canadians also like to eat lunch solo. The statement says “the percentage of consumers in Ontario, the Prairies and the Atlantic provinces who eat lunch alone are higher than the Canadian average while in Quebec only 36 per cent eat lunch alone.”
The study found that consumers with children “are three times more likely to eat dinner at a restaurant than those with children.”
Singletons, on the other hand, and “those with only a high school education are more likely than any other group to eat dinner out.”
The study found that those who skip meals may often make up for it with snacks.
About 46 per cent of women, 36 per cent of single people and 51 per cent of those with only a high school education “are more likely to snack than other groups. These are the same groups who skip meals most often.”
In the statement the university says the “most troubling” finding among Canadian consumers is their “habit of skipping meals.”
Charlebois says that “we need to understand why so many female, single and less educated consumers are skipping meals more often than other demographic groups. Research shows that skipping meals can lead to higher food insecurity levels, which is not desirable.”