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Can J Public Health. 2006 Sep-Oct;97(5):357-61.

School region socio-economic status and geographic locale is associated with food behaviour of Ontario and Alberta adolescents.

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  • 1Health Behaviour Research Group, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In an attempt to elucidate broader determinants of adolescent dietary intake and habits, food intakes and selected food behaviours of grades 9 and 10 students from Ontario and Alberta were examined according to school region socio-economic status and urban/rural locale.

METHODS:

Using a stratified random sample framework, 53 high schools from 28 school boards were recruited (45 public and 8 private; 33 urban and 20 rural). Median family income for Canada Post's forward sortation area of the school was used to define school region SES. Public and private schools were compared as a proxy measure of SES. A web-based survey of food intake and behaviours, including a 24-hour diet recall and food frequency questionnaire, was completed by 2,621 students in grades 9 and 10. Comparison of intakes and behaviours by school designation as urban/rural, public/private or regional SES (generalized linear model procedure) controlled for student gender and grade distribution and number of participants within schools.

RESULTS:

School region SES ranged from dollars 40,959 to dollars 85,922/year. Vegetable and fruit consumption (p < 0.001), fibre intake (p < 0.001) and frequency of breakfast consumption (p < 0.01) increased with increasing income, while added sugar intake decreased (p < 0.01). Private versus public school students had lower intakes of sweetened drinks (p < 0.01) and higher intakes of fibre (p=0.02). Rural students reported higher mean intakes of calcium (1106 vs. 995 mg/day, respectively, p = 0.03) and milk products (2.7 vs. 2.3 servings/day, p < 0.01) than urban students.

CONCLUSION:

Selected food behaviours of youth from Ontario and Alberta improve with increasing school SES and vary with rural/urban school locale. Identifying regional demographics may be useful in tailoring healthy eating programs to the specific school.

PMID:
17120872
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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