7.3.1 Percentage of youth aged 12 to 17 years who eat fruits and vegetables 5 times or more per day, by Indigenous identity, Canada, 2011/2014

First Nations Métis Inuit Non-Indigenous
Indigenous Identity 34.1 35.9 29.1 42.1

Note: The term “First Nations” refers to the First Nations population living off 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).

In 2011/2014, approximately one-third of Indigenous youth reported eating fruits and vegetables 5 times or more per day.

This compares to 29% of Inuit youth, 34% of First Nations youth, and 36% of Métis youth.

Indigenous cultures have different values, traditions and at times they may have different diets from those of non-Indigenous Canadians. Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide – First Nations, Inuit and Métis is a complement to the 2007 Canada’s food guide, tailored to reflect the different traditions and foods of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. It is evidence-based and recognizes the importance of traditional foods for First Nations, Inuit and Métis families. The food guide provides recommendations on the number of servings of fruits and vegetables, grain products, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives that children, youth and adults need to eat daily for optimal health. servings.

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.1 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.2 As a result, they may experience a number of nutritional deficiencies, with impacts on their development. Access to traditional foods acquired from the land are thus important sources of nutrients for healthy child and youth development.

1Heart and Stroke Foundation. (2017). Position statement – Access to affordable, healthy and nutritious food (“food security”) – accessed September 12, 2017.
2Egeland, 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).