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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 97, Issue 5, pp 357–361 | Cite as

School Region Socio-economic Status and Geographic Locale is Associated with Food Behaviour of Ontario and Alberta Adolescents

  • Leia M. Minaker
  • Linda McCargar
  • Irene Lambraki
  • Linda Jessup
  • Pete Driezen
  • Kate Calengor
  • Rhona M. HanningEmail author
Article
  • 1 Downloads

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 webbased 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 $40,959 to $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.

MeSH terms

Nutrition population health adolescent cross-sectional studies 

Résumé

Contexte

Pour élucider les grands déterminants des habitudes et apports alimentaires des adolescents, nous avons analysé les rations et certains comportements alimentaires d’élèves de 9e et de 10e année de l’Ontario et de l’Alberta selon le statut socioéconomique (SSE) du territoire de l’école et son emplacement en milieu urbain ou rural.

Méthode

À partir d’un échantillon aléatoire stratifié, nous avons recruté 53 écoles secondaires dans 28 conseils scolaires (45 écoles publiques et 8 écoles privées; 33 en milieu urbain et 20 en milieu rural). Le revenu familial médian pour la région de tri d’acheminement de Postes Canada dans laquelle se trouvait l’école a servi à définir le SSE régional. Comme variable de substitution au SSE, nous avons aussi comparé les écoles publiques et privées. Deux mille six cent vingt et un élèves de 9e et de 10e année ont répondu à un sondage en ligne sur les rations et les comportements alimentaires, qui comprenait une feuille de rappel des aliments ingérés pendant les 24 dernières heures et un questionnaire sur la fréquence de consommation des produits alimentaires. Notre comparaison des apports et des comportements selon le profil de l’école (urbaine, rurale, publique, privée) ou le SSE régional (par modèle linéaire généralisé) a tenu compte des effets du sexe des élèves et de leur niveau, ainsi que du nombre de répondants dans chaque école.

Résultats

Le SSE régional des écoles variait entre 40 959 $ et 85 922 $ par année. La consommation de fruits et de légumes (p<0,001), l’apport en fibres (p<0,001) et la fréquence de consommation du petit déjeuner (p<0,01) augmentaient avec le revenu, tandis que l’apport en sucre ajouté diminuait (p<0,01). Par rapport aux élèves des écoles publiques, les élèves des écoles privées affichaient une consommation inférieure de boissons sucrées (p<0,01) et des apports supérieurs en fibres (p=0,02). Par rapport aux élèves en milieu urbain, les élèves en milieu rural ont déclaré des apports moyens de calcium plus élevés (1 106 c. 995 mg/jour respectivement, p=0,03) et une consommation supérieure de produits laitiers (2,7 c. 2,3 portions/jour, p<0,01).

Conclusion

Certains comportements alimentaires des jeunes de l’Ontario et de l’Alberta s’améliorent avec l’accroissement du SSE régional et changent selon que l’école se trouve en milieu rural ou urbain. Il peut donc être utile de définir le profil démographique régional pour adapter les programmes de saine alimentation à une école en particulier.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leia M. Minaker
    • 1
  • Linda McCargar
    • 2
  • Irene Lambraki
    • 3
  • Linda Jessup
    • 4
  • Pete Driezen
    • 5
  • Kate Calengor
    • 6
  • Rhona M. Hanning
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Health Behaviour Research GroupUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Agricultural, Food and Nutritional ScienceUniversity of AlbertaCanada
  3. 3.Population Health ResearchUniversity of WaterlooCanada
  4. 4.Health Studies and GerontologyUniversity of WaterlooCanada
  5. 5.Population Health ResearchUniversity of WaterlooCanada
  6. 6.Agricultural, Food and Nutritional ScienceUniversity of AlbertaCanada
  7. 7.Health Studies and GerontologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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