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

Offline at the Agassiz Library

Physical book check-outs are back

Vancouver double homicide leads to arrest in Harrison Hot Springs Wednesday

VPD and RCMP tracked dumped vehicle connected to killings to Chilliwack

Ride for cancer in Langley will take place Sunday, despite COVID-19

Annual fundraiser will be ‘really different,’ but classic cars are expected, organizer promises

Multiple accidents slowing westbound Highway 1 traffic

3 accidents in Langley, Abbotsford within 30 minutes

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Wanted Burnaby man arrested in White Rock

34-year-old facing 15 charges, including sexual assault

Most Read