Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 109, Issue 4, pp 506–515 | Cite as

Food sources among young people in five major Canadian cities

  • Danielle Wiggers
  • Lana Vanderlee
  • Christine M. White
  • Jessica L. Reid
  • Leia Minaker
  • David HammondEmail author
Quantitative Research



To examine food sources among young people in five major Canadian cities.


As part of the 2016 Canada Food Study, respondents aged 16–30 were recruited from five Canadian cities (Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, Edmonton, and Vancouver) using in-person intercept sampling and completed an online survey (n = 2840 retained for analysis). Descriptive statistics were used to summarize food preparation and purchase locations. A linear regression model was fitted to examine correlates of the proportion of meals that were ready-to-eat or prepared outside the home.


In total, 80% of meals were prepared at home and 20% were prepared outside the home. More than 25% of meals prepared at home were ready-to-eat/box food. Of all meals consumed, 42% were either ready-to-eat/box food prepared at home or prepared outside the home. Food for meals prepared at home was purchased predominantly at grocery stores/supercentres while meals prepared outside the home were purchased predominantly at fast food/quick service/coffee shop outlets. Respondents who were younger, identified as Aboriginal, had obesity, had no children, lived in residence at school, university, or college, and reported poorer cooking skills reported more meals that were ready-to-eat or prepared outside the home.


The current findings indicate that a substantial proportion of meals consumed by young people consist of meals either prepared outside the home or ready-to-eat/box food prepared at home. Dietary recommendations should highlight basic patterns of food preparation and eating, such as limiting ultra-processed food and food prepared outside the home.


Diet, food, and nutrition Fast foods Cooking Nutrition policy 



Examiner les sources de nourriture des jeunes de cinq grandes villes canadiennes.


Dans le cadre de l’Étude sur les aliments au Canada de 2016, des répondants de 16 à 30 ans ont été recrutés par échantillonnage sur place dans cinq villes canadiennes (Toronto, Montréal, Halifax, Edmonton et Vancouver) et ont répondu à un sondage en ligne (n = 2840 ont été retenus pour l’analyse). Les données recueillies sur la préparation et le lieu d’achat des aliments ont été résumées au moyen de statistiques descriptives. Un modèle de régression linéaire a été adapté pour permettre l’examen des corrélats de la proportion de repas prêts-à-servir ou préparés à l’extérieur du foyer.


En tout, 80 % des repas étaient préparés au foyer et 20 % étaient préparés à l’extérieur du foyer. Plus de 25 % des repas préparés au foyer étaient des aliments prêts-à-servir/en boîte. De tous les repas consommés, 42 % étaient soit des aliments prêts-à-servir/en boîte préparés au foyer, soit des aliments préparés à l’extérieur du foyer. Les aliments pour les repas préparés au foyer étaient principalement achetés dans des épiceries ou des centres commerciaux, tandis que les repas préparés à l’extérieur du foyer étaient principalement achetés dans des débits de restauration rapide ou des cafés. Parmi les répondants, les plus jeunes, les Autochtones (auto-identifiés), les personnes obèses, les personnes sans enfants, les personnes vivant en résidence à l’école, à l’université ou au collège et celles qui déclaraient avoir peu de compétences en cuisine ont dit consommer plus de repas prêts-à-servir ou préparés à l’extérieur du foyer.


Les constatations à ce jour indiquent que les aliments préparés à l’extérieur du foyer ou prêts-à-servir/en boîte préparés au foyer représentent une proportion importante des repas consommés par les jeunes. Les recommandations alimentaires devraient donner des consignes de bases sur la préparation et la consommation des aliments, comme de limiter les aliments ultra-transformés et les aliments préparés à l’extérieur du foyer.


Alimentation et nutrition Aliments de restauration rapide Cuisine (préparation) Politique nutritionnelle 



This project has been made possible through funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the view of the Public Health Agency of Canada. Additional funding for this project has been provided by a Public Health Agency of Canada – Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Applied Public Health, which supports Professor Hammond, staff, and students at the University of Waterloo. LV is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship. LM is supported by the Canadian Cancer Society (award #704744).


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle Wiggers
    • 1
  • Lana Vanderlee
    • 2
  • Christine M. White
    • 1
  • Jessica L. Reid
    • 1
  • Leia Minaker
    • 3
  • David Hammond
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Public Health and Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.School of PlanningUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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