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Public Health Nutr. 2013 Mar;16(3):515-23. doi: 10.1017/S1368980012003035. Epub 2012 Jul 4.

Intakes of milk and alternatives among on-reserve First Nations youth in northern and southern Ontario, Canada.

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  • 1School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada. m2gates@uwaterloo.ca



To assess the adequacy of milk and alternatives, Ca and vitamin D intakes in First Nations (FN) youth in Ontario, Canada. Intakes were compared with the general population and dietary standards. Variation in intakes by community (proxy for remoteness) and BMI was examined.


Data were collected by 24 h recall between November 2003 and June 2010. Intakes were analysed descriptively. Variation in intakes, by community and BMI category, was assessed using ANOVA.


Five remote FN communities of the Mushkegowuk Territory (northern Ontario, Canada) and two less-remote southern Ontario FN communities.


Schoolchildren (n 457) in grades 6 to 12.


Compared with Canada's Food Guide recommendations, 72.6 to 84.7% had an inadequate intake of milk and alternatives depending on age and sex group; 86.2% of individuals fell below the RDA for Ca; 96.4% fell below the RDA for vitamin D. Community variation in intakes was detected, although in all cases Fort Albany had higher intakes, even when it was the more northern (remote) community. A BMI × sex interaction was found for intake of milk and alternatives (P = 0.041): an inverse relationship between intake and BMI was seen in females; in males, those who were overweight had the highest intake, followed by normal-weight and obese youth.


The nutritional inadequacies parallel the results of other Canadian studies of Aboriginal populations. Population health interventions to improve intakes are warranted. Moreover, community variation in intakes exists among FN youth in the present study (Fort Albany pairs only), but results were not as expected.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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