Health News

How Do Portlanders’ Eating Habits Stack Up?

A new survey reveals how often we’re drinking coffee, eating cheesy puffs, and more.

By Tuck Woodstock July 27, 2016

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Image: Shutterstock

We’re not going to bury the lead here: a recent study conducted by the Portland Clinic concluded that Portlanders are more likely than their peers across the country to live a health-conscious lifestyle. Between our abundance of parks and trails and our fixation on fresh, seasonal, organic, plant-based, unprocessed meals, that’s hardly a surprise. But if you’re interested in exactly how Rose City residents stack up with our counterparts around the nation, read on.

According to the Portland Healthy Habits 2016 survey, half of us enjoy fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, and as many as 90 percent eat produce “several times a week.” (Note: Merriam-Webster defines “several” as “more than two and fewer than many;” while “many” is defined as “a large number.” Not terribly helpful, but when you consider that the federal government’s MyPlate guidelines suggest roughly 30 servings of produce per week, it seems safe to assume that most of us still aren’t making the cut. But hey, we ate more than two servings! It’s a start!)

On the other side of the spectrum, only 35 percent of Portlanders report eating “junk food” multiple times a week. (No word if artisan non-GMO Sriracha cheesy puffs count as junk food.) And only three-fifths of us eat fast food at least once a month, compared to four-fifths of Americans as a whole. Could that be because we’re all standing in line for donuts instead? Are maple bacon donuts considered junk food? Don’t answer that. 

(Interestingly, the survey also found that one-third of us eat fast food and processed snacks “at least several times a week.” At least fewer than many times! Who needs exact numbers in a scientific survey?!) 

Unsurprisingly, the city known as a vegan mecca is home to a higher-than-average number of vegetarians; about 6 percent of Portlanders follow a plant-based diet, compared to 3 percent across America. But we were shocked by the survey’s claims that less than half of locals drink a caffeinated beverage every day, compared to two-thirds of Americans. (Why do we have one zillion coffee shops, then? Judging by the level of shade we’ve gotten from various baristas, ordering decaf isn’t exactly encouraged in this city.)

Last but not least, the survey found that Portlanders are almost literally running laps around the rest of the country; nearly three-quarters of us exercise regularly, compared to just over half of Americans nationwide. That’s great! Congrats, Portland. Just don’t ask us to define “regularly*.”


*We couldn’t help ourselves. Regularly is defined as 1) in a regular manner. 2) on a regular basis and 3) at regular intervals. So, that clears that up.

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