The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more Canadians to feel anxious, drink more alcohol and eat worse. (Pixabay)

Canadians feel more anxious, drink more alcohol, eat more junk food amid pandemic

Statistics Canada numbers reveal shift in attitudes, behaviours during COVID-19

If you think the COVID-19 pandemic has made you more anxious, drink more alcohol, and eat more junk food, join the club.

A Statistics Canada survey tracking Canadian attitudes and behaviours during the pandemic found that one in five Canadians reported feeling moderate or severe anxiety. The web-based survey interviewed 4,600 respondents between May 4 and May 10 and follows a survey conducted between March 29 and April 3 with mostly the same respondents.

During the first survey, respondents reported “high levels of concern about the health, social and economic consequences of the pandemic,” a finding that appears again in the second survey, even as the economy starts to reopen.

RELATED: CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

“Many Canadians have lost their jobs or their primary source of income because of the pandemic, and this is creating anxiety and worry among Canadians and their families,” it reads.

If anxiety levels among all respondents went up, women (21 per cent) were more likely to feel anxious than men (15 per cent), the survey found. Youth aged 15 to 24 were also more likely to be affected (27 per cent) than middle-aged adults (19 per cent) and seniors (10 per cent), it added.

By way of background, 48 per cent of Canadians reported having excellent or very good mental health in May, six points less than at the end of March.

Survey respondents have also been drinking more over the course of the pandemic. While 14 per cent of Canadians surveyed between March 29 and April 3 said said their consumption of alcohol had increased, close to one in five Canadians (19 per cent) reported higher alcohol use between May 4 and May 10.

Canadians were also more likely to dip into chip bowls while enjoying their beverages. Almost one in three respondents (27 per cent) said that they were eating more junk food or sweets during the first survey. That proportion rose to 35 per cent during the second survey.

RELATED: More than a third of Canadian workers fear losing job because of COVID-19

These trends held true for both men and women, as well as for younger and older Canadians.

These findings against the backdrop of other large findings that show about three in 10 Canadians (29 per cent) said that they had not been in contact with anybody outside their household during the past seven days and 32 per cent said that they had been in close contact with three people or fewer.

In other words, Canadians have been following social distancing rules, but at a growing expense of their psychological and physiological health.

Finally, the survey more than suggests that the uncertain economic picture is one of, if not the major contributing factor to rising anxiety levels, findings that have also appeared elsewhere.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cathy McLeod busy helping people navigate the various services and programs that have been put in place or disrupted since the March lockdown. (File submitted).
Rapid testing essential to public health, economy

McLeod questions federal government’s gathering of information for COVID-19 quarantine zones.

Up to 10 centimetres of snow expected on Highway 97 from Clinton to Begbie Summit and in 100 Mile House. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press)
Environment Canada issues snowfall alert in South Cariboo

Up to 10 centimetres of snow expected this morning before tapering to flurries this evening.

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP Highlights: Reports of CRA scam calls ramping up this fall

The CRA cannot issue a warrant for your arrest and the RCMP will not come to your home

Wendy Hamblin, coordinator of the Free Store at St. Timothy’s St. Anglican Church, shows off a couple of coats ahead of the Coats for All 2020 campaign, which kicks off Nov. 1. (Kelly Sinoski photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
Wanted: warm coats for all

Annual campaign kicks off to collect winter outerwear

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Most Read