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Canadians' eating habits

By Didier Garriguet, Health Statistics Division




This report is an overview of Canadians’ eating habits:  total calories consumed and the number of servings from the various food groups, as well as the percentage of total calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates.

Data sources

The data are from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) — Nutrition.  Published results from the 1970-1972 Nutrition Canada Survey were used for comparisons over time.

Analytical techniques

An initial 24-hour dietary recall was completed by 35,107 people.  A subsample of 10,786 completed a second recall 3 to 10 days later.  Data collected in the first interview day were used to estimate, by selected characteristics, average calorie intake and average percentages of calories from fat, protein and carbohydrates.  Usual intake of macronutrients was estimated with the Software for Intake Distribution Estimation (SIDE) program, using  data from both interview days.

Main results

Although a minimum of five daily servings of vegetables and fruit is recommended, 7 out of 10 children aged 4 to 8 and half of adults did not meet this minimum in 2004.  More than a third of 4- to 9-year-olds did not have the recommended two daily servings of milk products.  Over a quarter of Canadians aged 31 to 50 obtained more than 35% of their total calories from fat. Snacks account for more calories than breakfast, and about the same number of calories as lunch.


  • diet
  • dietary habits
  • eating
  • energy intake
  • food intake
  • nutrition
  • nutrition surveys


  • Didier Garriguet, Health Statistics Division
    Statistics Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0T6

    Telephone: (613) 951-7187


At home, at work or at school, in a five-star restaurant or in a neighbourhood take-out,  Canadians can choose from an ever-increasing variety of foods.  Grocery stores offer an abundance of imported products, along with frozen meals that can be ready in minutes to satisfy the needs of time-crunched households.  Fresh fruits and vegetables once considered exotic are now available throughout the year.  And today, fast food has become part of a typical diet.  In the midst of this array of choices, just what are Canadians eating?  [Full text]


Data source

Most of the data in this analysis are from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) - Nutrition, which was designed to collect information about the dietary habits of Canadians. The CCHS excludes members of the regular Canadian Forces and people living in the territories, on Indian reserves, in institutions, in some remote regions, and all residents (military and civilian) of Canadian Forces bases. [Full text]


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