6.3.3 Percentage of Canadian children and youth aged 12 to 24 years who eat fruits and vegetables at least 5 times a day, by Indigenous identity, Canada, 2007-2010 and 2011-2014

First Nations Métis Inuit Non-Indigenous
2007 to 2010 38.2 41.2 33.6 47
2011 to 2014 34.1 35.9 29.1 42.1

Does not include First Nations children/youth living on reserve.

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada. Table 105-0512 – Health indicator profile, by Aboriginal identity, age group and sex, four year estimates, Canada, provinces and territories, occasional (rate). Accessed September 27, 2017 at: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=1050512&&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=31&tabMode=dataTable&csid=

In 2011-2014, 34% of First Nations children and youth aged 12 to 24 years reported that they ate fruits and vegetables at least 5 times a day, as did 36% of Métis children and youth in the same age group and 29% of Inuit children and youth.

Non-Indigenous children and youth aged 12 to 24 years were more likely to eat fruits and vegetables at least 5 times a day – 42% did so.

The percentage of children and youth aged 12 to 24 years who ate fruits and vegetables at least 5 times a day decreased among all groups between 200-2010 and 2011-2014.

Indigenous cultures have different values, traditions and at times they may have different food choices from those of non-Indigenous Canadians. Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide – First Nations, Inuit and Métis is a food guide tailored to reflect traditions and food choices of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people and is a complement to the 2007 Canada’s Food Guide. It is based on science and recognizes the importance of traditional and store-bought foods for First Nations, Inuit and Métis families. It recommends that children and youth over 12 and 13 years of age eat at least 5-6 servings of vegetables and fruit each day and those over 13 eat 7 to 10. These include things like berries, apples, carrots and spinach.

Poverty is related to food insecurity. Low-income households often do not have enough money to pay for basic living expenses and it is often the purchase of healthy, nutritious foods that must be sacrificed in order to make ends meet.2 As a result, low-income households are more likely to eat lower cost but less nutritious processed foods and less likely to eat the recommended servings of healthy nutritious foods. The prevalence of food insecurity is very high in Indigenous communities, especially in northern and remote communities where accessing healthy foods can be challenging and costly.3 As a result, they may experience a number of nutritional deficiencies, with impacts on their development.

2Heart and Stroke Foundation. (2017). Position statement – Access to affordable, healthy and nutritious food, (“food security”). http://www.heartandstroke.ca/-/media/pdf-files/canada/2017-position-statements/accessto-affordablehealthy-nutritiousfoods-ps-eng.ashx?la=en -accessed September 12, 2017.
3Egeland, G.M., Pacey, A., & Sobol, I. (2010). Food insecurity among Inuit preschoolers: Nunavut Inuit Child Health Survey, 2007-2008. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 182(3), 243-248. Tarasuk, V., Mitchell, A., & Dachner, N. (2016). Household food insecurity in Canada, 2014. Toronto, ON: Research to Identify Policy Options to Reduce Food Insecurity (PROOF).