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Can J Diet Pract Res. 2009 Summer;70(2):58-65.

Determinants of diet quality among Canadian adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.



Dietary intakes and nutrition behaviours were examined among different diet quality groups of Canadian adolescents.


This cross-sectional study included 2850 Alberta and Ontario adolescents aged 14 to 17, who completed a self-administered web-based survey that examined nutrient intakes and meal behaviours (meal frequency and meal consumption away from home).


Mean macronutrient intakes were within Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges; however, micronutrient intakes and median food group intakes were below recommendations based on Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating (CFGHE). Overall diet quality indicated that 43%, 47%, and 10% of students had poor, average, and superior diet quality, respectively. Adolescents with lower diet quality had significantly different intakes of macronutrients and CFGHE-defined "other foods." In terms of diet quality determinants, those with poor diet quality had higher frequencies of suboptimal meal behaviours. Students with poor diet quality consumed breakfast and lunch less frequently than did those with average and superior diet quality.


Canadian adolescents have low intakes of CFGHE-recommended foods and high intakes of "other foods." Those with poor diet quality had suboptimal macro-nutrient intakes and increased meal skipping and meal consumption away from home. Adherence to CFGHE may promote optimal dietary intakes and improve nutritional behaviours.

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