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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

More rain in the forecast for Cariboo region

A risk of a thunderstorm for Tuesday afternoon

Cariboo vegetable farmer swamped by Fraser River flooding

Brianna van de Wijngaard was picking vegetables three feet below the water

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Cariboo, North Thompson region

Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake and 100 Mile House all under watch

International Safe Travels designation program approved for Gold Rush Trail, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

World Travel and Tourism Council approves, businesses and communities can apply

Do you think recreation facilities in 100 Mile should reopen?

The weekly web poll for the 100 Mile Free Press

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. homeowners plead for action on condo insurance crisis

Strata property fees growing bigger than mortgage payments

Indigenous man behind complaint of BC Transplant’s alcohol abstinence policy has died

David Dennis, who is Nuu-chah-nulth, argued that six-month sobriety policy is a ‘lethal form of racism’

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Urge travellers to follow COVID-19 rules in a ‘gentle way’: B.C.’s top doctor

Cases surging in the U.S. have B.C. officials hoping the border stays shut all summer

Parallel crises: How COVID-19 exacerbated B.C.’s drug overdose emergency

Part 1: Officials say isolation, toxic drug supply, CERB, contributing to crisis

Canadians with disabilities disproportionately hit by COVID-19 pandemic

More than four out of 10 British Columbians aged 70 and up have various disabilities

Camping offers a great pandemic escape, for less money than you might think

But for many first-timers, knowing what to bring can be a challenge

Most Read