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

Imagination Library Fraser Valley celebrating Christmas in July

Dolly Parton early literacy intiative looking for financial support to help with waitlist

MS Bike fundraiser goes virtual in midst of pandemic

Fraser Valley event in Abbotsford and Langley among those usually held every year

PHOTOS: Readers are proud of their cats

Abbotsford News asked people to share photos of their feline friends as part of National Kitten Day

Abbotsford musician Liam Pasiciel releases fourth album

Plant of Creation is entirely instrumental and moves beyond his ‘metal’ roots

Exercise and cancer to be explored via webinar

UFV’s Dr. Iris Lesser to lead Zoom event for cancer patients and supporters

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Police nab three impaired drivers in one night in Maple Ridge

Ridge Meadows RCMP served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

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

Most Read