The objective of this study is to assess population-level trends in children's dietary intake and weight status before and after the implementation of a provincial school nutrition policy in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada.
Self-reported dietary behavior and nutrient intake and measured body mass index were collected as part of a population-level study with grade 5 students in 2003 (n=5215) and 2011 (5508), prior to and following implementation of the policy. We applied random effects regression methods to assess the effect of the policy on dietary and health outcomes.
In 2011, students reported consuming more milk products, while there was no difference in mean consumption of vegetables and fruits in adjusted models. Adjusted regression analysis revealed a statistically significant decrease in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. Despite significant temporal decreases in dietary energy intake and increases in diet quality, prevalence rates of overweight and obesity continued to increase.
This population-level intervention research suggests a positive influence of school nutrition policies on diet quality, energy intake and healthy beverage consumption, and that more action beyond schools is needed to curb the increases in the prevalence of childhood obesity.
Cites: J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11):3476-8414608061
Cites: Int J Pediatr Obes. 2011 Apr;6(2):142-820874077
Although the majority of Canadian provinces have indicated that they have adopted new school nutrition policies, there have been few if any systematic evaluations of these policies. In Prince Edward Island, a nutrition policy for elementary schools was adopted province-wide in 2006. In the present study, we assessed the nutritional benefits of the new policy by examining changes in student food consumption prior to and one year following implementation of the policy.
We surveyed fifth and sixth grade children from 11 elementary schools in Prince Edward Island in 2001/02 (pre-policy implementation) and fifth and sixth grade children from the same 11 schools in 2007 (post-policy implementation). Food consumption was assessed using a self-administered validated food frequency questionnaire. We applied multilevel logistic regression to compare pre-/post-policy implementation differences in the proportion of students meeting Canada's Food Guide recommendations for vegetables and fruit (VF) and milk and alternatives (MA) and in the proportion of students consuming
Aboriginal people are more vulnerable to food insecurity and morbidity than is the Canadian population overall. However, little information is available about the association between food insecurity and health in Aboriginal households.
Data from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey-Nutrition were used to examine the relationships between household food security and self-reported health, well-being and health behaviours in a sample of 837 Aboriginal adults living off reserve. Household food security status was based on Health Canada's interpretation of the United States Household Food Security Survey Module. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify significant relationships, while adjusting for potential confounders.
An estimated 29% of Aboriginal people aged 18 or older lived in food-insecure households. They were more likely to report poor general and mental health, life dissatisfaction, a very weak sense of community belonging, high stress and cigarette smoking, compared with their counterparts in food-secure households. When age, gender and household education were taken into account, respondents from food-insecure households had significantly higher odds of poor general health, high stress, life dissatisfaction, and a very weak community belonging.
Reductions in household food insecurity may improve the health and well-being of Aboriginals living off-reserve.
To examine whether eating while watching television poses a risk for poor nutrition and excess body weight over and above that of time spent watching television.
We analysed data of grade 5 students participating in a comprehensive population-based survey in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. This survey included the Harvard's Youth Food Frequency Questionnaire, students' height and weight measurements, and a parent survey. We applied multivariable linear and logistic random effects models to quantify the associations of watching television and eating while watching television with diet quality and body weight.
The province of Nova Scotia, Canada.
Grade 5 students (n 4966).
Eating supper while watching television negatively affected the consumption of fruits and vegetables and overall diet quality. More frequent supper while watching television was associated with more soft drink consumption, a higher percentage energy intake from sugar out of total energy from carbohydrate, a higher percentage energy intake from fat, and a higher percentage energy intake from snack food. These associations appeared independent of time children spent watching television. Both watching television and eating while watching television were positively and independently associated with overweight.
Our observations suggest that both sedentary behaviours from time spent watching television as well as poor nutrition as a result of eating while watching television contribute to overweight in children. They justify current health promotion targeting time spent watching television and call for promotion of family meals as a means to avoid eating in front of the television.