By Mitchell Morales
Canadian Diets: How They Impact Our Wealth And Health
In Canada, how and what we eat as a society has changed in the past 50 years, much like it has all around the globe. With rapid industrialization and globalization in the food business, many Canadians and the environment are suffering because of it, yet may not be aware of it yet. Canada’s large landmass and fertility of land means a big portion of our nation fertile is entirely for agrarian purposes. Young Canadians are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits for buying local foods, however, this trend needs to continue to the other demographics. Furthermore more than a quarter of middle aged Canadians eat too much red meat therefore eats too much fat (Holwenger, 2008). Risks associated with high fat intake are coronary diseases and cancers. This essay will discuss the ways Canadians obtain the food they eat and how what they are eating negatively affects their health and the countries wealth. Obesity is by Health Canada’s standards is a body mass index of >30kg/m2. As most of the developed world does, Canada has a problem with almost yearly increases in the number of obese Canadians amongst almost all age groups, most particularly amongst children (Tjepkema, 2007). One out of every four Canadians is by definition obese, with rates increasing with age 20 and eventually declining at 65 (Morrison, Channoine. 2007). Obesity rates vary quite a bit by and with different factors including: location, age, gender, racial background, and socioeconomic status (Craig CL et al, 2005). For example, adult obesity rates in Richmond, BC are a lot lower at 5% than a more Aboriginal inhabited area in Saskatchewan, at 36%. One might infer that perhaps Richmond has a lower amount of obese people due to the fact that it is a hugely immigrant based community, where diets are quite different than the traditional Canadian one. Shocking statistics show that more than 36% of children under the age of twelve are reported as being obese. These are worrying facts that could carry consequences for these future generations later on in life, as they are now effectively more susceptible to life threatening diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and increased blood pressure. Aside from children, First Nations are the highest population of obese people, with 36% of their population being obese (RHS, 2003). Interestingly enough, self-reported obesity rates for off-reserve Aboriginals was lower than the ones living on reserve land, however, those rates were still significantly higher than those that were non-Aboriginal. There are several reasons to explain this epidemic of obesity in our society; the two most important aspects however are a proper, balanced diet and proper daily exercise, especially in children and youth. A proper diet consists of natural ingredients and low amounts of processed and fatty foods.
There is nothing quite like a grilled steak on a summer’s day, however, red meat is increasingly becoming a problem for our health as well as the environment’s. Red meats have become an integral part of the Canadian diet, especially during the summer months where barbequing is seen by most as a largely Canadian pastime. The province of Alberta especially has become synonymous with good quality beef. However, red meat, while having high nutritional value for healthy living in small doses, as mentioned has high levels of fat and calories with are of course adverse for health (WHO, 2011). The high amount of calories in red meat products means that Canadians who consume too much will suffer a form of malnutrition, where they will be eating a disproportionate amount of red meat compared to other integral parts of a balanced diet, such as fruits and vegetables, because the human body can only eat so much. This means that Canadians will not get other forms of valuable nutrients from other