A better base, but more obesity

News 24 March, 2018
  • Marie-Eve Dumont

    Saturday, 24 march 2018 22:31

    Saturday, 24 march 2018 22:31

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    More fruits and vegetables, less red meat and drinks… a plate of Quebecers has improved over the last 25 years, but there is work to be done to reduce the rate of obesity, according to experts.

    “We have increases in the good seats that are going in the direction of healthy eating,” says the nutritionist Hubert Cormier.

    Poultry, for example, now occupies 7 % of the plate against 5 % in 1992, and the red meat is at 6 % instead of 8 % previously.

    “We consume as much meat as before, but the distribution is reversed, we eat it now, more poultry than red meat. It seems that public health messages work well, ” said Mr. Cormier.

    Quebecers also consume 20 % more fruits. We also eat more vegetables even if the increase is less important.

    “We have a lot more variety. It has a diversity that encourages people to consume more, ” says Félicien Hitayezu, an economist with the ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Quebec (MAPAQ)

    Still obesity

    The portrait seems to be promising, but these figures demonstrate that even when we eat still a lot of carbs, even if they are of better quality, particularly in fruits and grain products, supports the dietitian Andréanne Martin. The report compiled by the MAPAQ did not indicate the way in which are consumed these foods.

    Photo courtesy

    Andréanne Martin


    “We have a lot more prescriptions of antibiotics. We eat more processed foods and less fiber. We live increasingly in a sanitized world, which disrupts the variety of bacteria we have in our digestive tract. This lack of variety is in tandem with the increase of the body mass index (level of obesity], ” says Ms. Martin.

    Moreover, the rate of obesity has tripled in the last 25 years in children and adolescents. The time spent in front of screens, and lack of sleep are also factors that can lead to overweight. Today’s young people sleep 2 hours less than in 1980.

    Less of drinks

    If we take the plate overall, we eat also 13 kg less of food than in 1992. The largest decrease is found in soft drinks, that was 25 years ago, 16 % of our plate, and now 11 %.

    These changes may seem small, but they represent millions of dollars less for a industry, says Sylvain Charlebois, a specialist in agri-food.

    “Quebecers spend between 45 billion and 50 billion per year to feed, which includes the catering and the grocery store. If a category loses 2 % of the space in the plate, it is still a lot.

    Change in our basis of assessment for the past 25 years

    Each Quebec consumes now per year, the equivalent of…

    Photo Fotolia

    • 3.46 kg of vegetables for example a 9.8 bunches of broccoli (250 g each)

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    • 5,33 kg of flour, more

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    • 7,4 whole chickens (1.5 kg each)

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    • 76,5 STEAKS less

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    • 98,5 cans of soft drinks under
    • 19,2 kg of fruit is, for example, to 14.1 bags of apples (3 lb) more