A survey shows that many Canadians have turned to food to cope with loneliness during the pandemic. This could partially explain the weight gain that nearly half of the respondents experienced.
Of 9,991 respondents in the recent survey conducted by Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia), in partnership with Caddle, more than half (57.9%) said they had seen their weight unintentionally fluctuate since the start of the pandemic. 42.3% of this group admitted to having gained weight. On the contrary, 15.6 of the respondents noted no significant difference when placing their feet on the scale. Among those who gained weight, 37.3% increased between 2.72 and 4.5 kg. The principal director of the Laboratory for Analytical Sciences in Agri-Food at Dalhousie University, Silvan Charleboa, insists that fluctuations in weight are perfectly normal over the course of a lifetime. With age, we tend to gain more weight even if we eat the same amount of food as before, according to recent research that found that the turnover of fat in adipose tissue decreases with age, researchers at Dalhousie University explained.
One of the stated goals of the survey was to survey the population on the factors that had the most influence on the eating habits of Canadians in the past 14 months. Thus, we learned that 67% of Canadians surveyed admitted that stress was the component affecting their personal lives the most in the past 14 months. However, in times of stress, many find a food sanctuary, suggests the agri-food expert. McGill University Associate Professor of Human Nutrition, Dr Stephanie Chevalier, was not surprised and agreed with these results. “People will handle stress completely differently,” explains the nutritionist. In the context of containment, people prefer food because it is comfortable. We are at home and have access to food at all times, for those who can afford it. It’s easy to have small snacks when working from home, it’s easy to snack. “
She also suggests betting on “the nice season (?) To take off her computer every hour, and go for a 10-minute walk, even at home, only to climb the stairs at her home or in her house. Apartment.” Mr. Charleboa adds that the time people spend on transportation or travel has been reduced to necessities, and people no longer tend to move around as before. Migration to remote work has also translated into a more sedentary lifestyle, not to mention a lack of connections. The gatherings around the coffee machine have been replaced by brief virtual exchanges, if any. Loneliness also played a role in Canadians’ relationship with food: 48% of respondents admitted that eating helps them feel better when they feel lonely, and 61.3% of people admit that having a snack now and then has helped lift their spirits since the start of the pandemic. In these findings and comments left by the respondents, Mr. Charleboa believes that many people live isolated and may feel depressed.
“As we can see in the survey, not only is the stress factor the most important, but above all it is the isolation, the separation between people and their friends and colleagues” that was one of the biggest challenges for the residents. For example, 67% of Canadians consider separation from loved ones the most important personal stress. In addition, the loss of usual standards caused by the epidemic has upset eating habits and rituals surrounding meals. Only 8.8% of those surveyed said they were able to manage meals, while 32.5% said they were able to manage most of the time.
The Dalhousie University survey in Halifax, Nova Scotia was conducted in partnership with the Caddle Company in April 2021 with the participation of 9991 respondents. The margin of error is +/- 1.3%, 19 times of 20. Any difference between the sums is due to rounding.
This article was produced with financial assistance from Facebook and The Canadian Press News Scholarships.
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