There’s so much to love about our great country: our land, our culture, and the wonderful tapestry of people who count themselves as Canadians. According to Statistics Canada, more than 1 in 5 Canadians is foreign-born; that’s 7.5 million foreign-born people who make our country an exotic mixture of ethnicities. It goes without saying that an enormous amount can be written about our unique people, culture and history. This article delves into a tiny part of this: our diet and the medical conditions that can arise from these.
While we are all united in being Canadian, there are distinct differences that set each ethnicity apart when it comes to predisposition for medical conditions. Since inherited health conditions are largely a result of diet and lifestyle, these differences between ethnicities make sense. Consider the following:
South Asian Canadians
With 14 major languages and almost as many religions, South Asian Canadians present a vibrant cultural mosaic all their own. We are mesmerized by South Asian music and dance and seduced by the mouthwatering cuisine. Alas, many South Asian dishes are unhealthily high in carbs, fat oils, salts and sugars. As a result, this group of Canadians is more prone to being overweight, leading to a greater risk for heart disease, diabetes (double the rate of other groups) and some of the highest high blood pressure in the country.
As the largest group of Canadian immigrants, Chinese Canadians have helped shape our culture with invaluable contributions to business, literature, film, music, politics, education and philanthropy. While we are fascinated by their exotic and delicious cuisine, many Chinese Canadians have moved away from the traditional Chinese diet of rice, noodles, vegetables and little meat, to higher fat Western style foods. Not surprisingly, coronary heart disease and diabetes are on the rise amongst these Canadians.
Today, 1 in every 50 of Canadians is of Filipino descent; they are one of the largest groups of our country’s immigrants. The rich Filipino culture and heritage plays a prominent role in shaping Canada’s identity today, and food is no exception. We see a lot of traditional Eastern cuisine blending with modern Western flavours in rich stews made with pork and starches, deep fried chicken and white rice. As a result, Filipinos unfortunately rank high for Diabetes and Coronary Artery Diseases. In fact, the International Diabetes Federation identifies almost 4 million Filipinos living with diabetes in their homeland, so likely many Filipino Canadians are also living with diabetes.
Latin American Canadians
Hailing mostly from Mexico, Colombia and El Salvador, this vibrant and multicultural group has settled in Canada from coast to coast, bringing a joy for life and a diet loaded with starches, sugar and carbohydrates. Many of these new Canadians have also introduced high fat Western foods and snacks into their meals. This puts Latino American Canadians at high risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease (this is in fact, the leading cause of death in Latin America). Not surprisingly, this segment is also at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Granted, this is just a tiny “taste” of the long list of all Canadians who make up our country. But this is enough to illustrate that one’s ethnic background may predict one’s health. So here’s something important to note: If you’re a Canadian who has a predilection for a medical condition or are living with a pre-existing one, life insurance is still an option. Canada Protection Plan offers a variety of affordable plans to choose from. Speak with your advisor or contact Canada Protection Plan at 1-877-851-9090 to find which insurance plan is right for you. And a very HAPPY CANADA DAY to all!