Canadian Child Nutrition Statistics

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Overweight & Obesity

17.4% - Percent of children aged 5 - 17 years who are overweight
10.1% - Percent of children aged 5 - 17 years who are obese
Source: Statistics Canada. Overweight and obesity based on measured body mass index, by age group and sex. (Data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey 2018 - 2019.)

30% - Percent of children aged 5 - 17 who are overweight or obese
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada (2017). Tackling obesity in Canada: Childhood obesity and excess weight rates in Canada

23.2% - Prevalence of overweight and obese youth, 12 - 17 years
Source: Statistics Canada. Body mass index, overweight or obese, self-reported, youth (12 to 17 years old). (Data fromCanadian Community Healthy Survey, 2020).

32% - Percent of children, 5 - 19 years who are overweight or obese
Source: UNICEF, The State of the World's Children (2019). Children, Food and Nutrition: Growing well in a changing world.


17% (1.2 million) – Percent of children <18 years living in low-income households*
Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Population (2016)
*Individuals are defined as having low income if the after-tax income of their household falls below half of the median adjusted household after-tax income. Adjusted household income is calculated using the income of a household divided by the square root of the household size. The median income is the amount that divides the income size distribution into two equal parts.

9.7% (680,000) – Percent of children <18 years living below the poverty line*
Source: Canadian Income Survey, Statistics Canada (2019)
*The market basket measure (MBM) is used to determine the poverty line. This is a specific basket of goods and services that includes food, clothing, footwear, transportation, shelter and other expenses. A family is considered to be below the poverty line if they do not have sufficient income to purchase these goods and services.

21% – Child poverty rate*
Source: UNICEF Report Card 16 (2020)
*Percentage of children aged 0–17 living in a household with income lower than 60 per cent of the median, 2014. The relative child poverty rate shows the proportion of each nation’s children living in a household where disposable income is less than 60% of the national median (after taking taxes and benefits into account and adjusting for family size and composition using the OECD modified equivalence scale).


91.1% (9 in 10) - Percent of mothers that initiate breastfeeding
15.1% (1 in 7) - Percent of mothers that discontinue breastfeeding within the first month
34.5% (1 in 3) - Percent of infants that are exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months
62.2% (3 in 5) - Percent of infants that are breastfed (any amount) for at least 6 months
88% (9 in 10) - Percent of breastfed infants that are given Vitamin D supplementation 
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada (2022). Canada's Breastfeeding Progress Report 2022. (Data from the 2017-2018 Canadian Community Health Survey). 

Food Insecurity

24.3% (1.8 million) Proportion of children (<18 years) in ten Canadian provinces living in food insecure households*
* Food insecurity data on the territories is reported seperately.
Source: Li T, Fafard St-Germain AA, Tarasuk V. (2023) Household food insecurity in Canada, 2022. Toronto: Research to identify policy options to reduce food insecurity (PROOF). Retrieved from