The aim of the present study was to examine to what extent children and adolescents in Greenland comply with the national dietary guidelines, and to analyse the influence of habitation and family affluence on the compliance with dietary guidelines.
Data were from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey in Greenland. The 2006 survey included 2462 students aged 11 to 17 years.
The proportion of students complying with the national dietary guidelines varied from 14 % to 87 % depending on the food item. Sweets and soft drinks had the lowest compliance. The oldest children had the following characteristics compared with the younger children: fewer ate traditional Greenlandic foods, fewer ate fruit, fewer ate breakfast daily on school days and more drank soft drinks frequently. More boys than girls ate traditional Greenlandic foods often, while more girls ate vegetables daily. The least favourable eating habits in general were found among children from low affluent families and children in villages.
Many Greenlandic schoolchildren did not comply with the national dietary guidelines. Despite a higher intake of traditional foods as a whole, children in villages and less affluent children were less likely to comply with guidelines. A strong relationship between diet, family affluence and availability was found. The study findings indicate that factors such as availability, cost and seasonal variation are important to the intake of both imported and traditional Greenlandic foods. The findings should be taken into consideration when promoting the national guidelines.