Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 101, Issue 1, pp 40–43 | Cite as

A Province-wide School Nutrition Policy and Food Consumption in Elementary School Children in Prince Edward Island

  • Megan L. Mullally
  • Jennifer P. Taylor
  • Stefan Kuhle
  • Janet Bryanton
  • Kimberley J. Hernandez
  • Debbie L. MacLellan
  • Mary L. McKenna
  • Robert J. Gray
  • Paul J. Veugelers
Quantitative Research



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 <3 servings of low nutrient dense foods (LNDF) daily.


Relative to students in 2001/02, students surveyed in 2007 were 2.14 (95% CI 1.62–2.82) times more likely to report consuming less than three daily servings of LNDF and were more likely to meet recommendations for VF (OR 1.44, 95% CI 1.00–2.07) and MA (OR 1.27, 95% CI 0.98–1.64).


The present study is the first in Canada to show favourable changes in student food consumption that parallel the introduction of a school nutrition policy.


Nutrition nutrition policy nutrition surveys dietary habits school health obesity 



La majorité des provinces canadiennes ont adopté de nouvelles politiques nutritionnelles en milieu scolaire, mais ces politiques n’ont pas été systématiquement évaluées, ou très peu. À l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard, une politique nutritionnelle dans les écoles primaires a été adoptée à l’échelle de la province en 2006. Nous avons cherché à en évaluer les avantages nutritionnels en examinant les changements dans les aliments consommés par les élèves avant et un an après sa mise en œuvre.


Nous avons sondé les élèves de cinquième et de sixième année de 11 écoles primaires de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard en 2001–2002 (avant la mise en œuvre de la politique) et les élèves de cinquième et de sixième année des mêmes écoles en 2007 (après la mise en œuvre). Pour évaluer la consommation d’aliments, nous avons utilisé un questionnaire auto-administré et validé sur la fréquence de consommation des produits alimentaires. Une analyse de régression logistique multiniveaux a permis de comparer les différences, avant et après la mise en œuvre de la politique, dans la proportion d’élèves qui respectaient les recommandations du Guide alimentaire canadien pour les fruits et légumes et pour le lait et ses substituts, et dans la proportion d’élèves qui consommaient <3 portions d’aliments à faible valeur nutritive (AFVN) par jour.


Comparativement aux élèves de 2001–2002, les élèves sondés en 2007 étaient 2,14 fois (IC 95% 1,62–2,82) plus susceptibles de dire avoir consommé moins de trois portions quotidiennes d’AFVN, et ils étaient plus susceptibles de respecter les recommandations pour les fruits et légumes (RC 1,44, IC 95% 1,00–2,07) et pour le lait et ses substituts (RC 1,27, IC 95% 0,98–1,64).


Notre étude est la première au Canada à faire état de changements positifs dans les aliments consommés par les élèves avec l’introduction d’une politique nutritionnelle dans les écoles.


nutrition politique nutritionnelle enquêtes sur la nutrition habitudes alimentaires services hygiène scolaire obésité 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Megan L. Mullally
    • 1
  • Jennifer P. Taylor
    • 2
  • Stefan Kuhle
    • 3
  • Janet Bryanton
    • 4
  • Kimberley J. Hernandez
    • 5
  • Debbie L. MacLellan
    • 5
  • Mary L. McKenna
    • 6
  • Robert J. Gray
    • 7
  • Paul J. Veugelers
    • 8
  1. 1.Program CoordinatorHolland CollegeCharlottetownCanada
  2. 2.Department of Family and Nutritional SciencesUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada
  3. 3.School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  4. 4.School of NursingUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada
  5. 5.Department of Family and Nutritional SciencesUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCharlottetownCanada
  6. 6.Department of KinesiologyUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada
  7. 7.Faculty of EducationUniversity of Prince Edward IslandCanada
  8. 8.School of Public HealthUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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