Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 103, Issue 6, pp e448–e452 | Cite as

After-school Snack Intake Among Canadian Children and Adolescents

  • Jo-Anne GilbertEmail author
  • Doris Miller
  • Shannon Olson
  • Sylvie St-Pierre
Quantitative Research


Objectives: The article describes the after-school (AS) snacking pattern of young Canadians and its relationship with the amount of energy consumed daily and at dinner.

Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional dietary data, measured by 24h recall, from 9,131 children and adolescents aged 4 to 18 years from the Canadian Community Health Survey, cycle 2.2 (2004). We evaluated AS snack intake; i.e., foods consumed Monday to Friday between 3:00 and 6:00 pm, excluding lunch and dinner. We also assessed the consumption frequency of AS snack items, the energy provided by AS snacks and total daily energy intake (TDEI) by age group and sex.

Results: Approximately 63% of respondents consumed AS snacks. AS snacks provided on average 1212[95%CI,1157–1268]kJ (290[95%CI,276–303]kcal), representing 13[95%CI,12–13]% of TDEI. Youth who consumed AS snacks contributing 1–418 kJ (1–99 kcal) reported lower TDEI than those who consumed no snack. Among AS snack consumers, TDEI was higher in groups consuming the highest amount of energy from AS snacks. Fruits were among the most frequently consumed food categories. However, the largest energy contributors were mostly foods that may be energy-dense and nutrient-poor, such as cookies, sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.

Conclusion: Considering that the majority of children and adolescents consumed AS snacks, that these snacks provided about 13% of their TDEI, and that the majority of the most frequently consumed snacks were generally energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods, the AS time period presents an opportunity to promote healthy eating in order to improve diet quality and potentially influence TDEI among Canadian children and adolescents.


Objectifs: Décrire la prise de collations après l’école (CAE) et son association avec l’apport énergétique total (AET) et lors du souper.

Méthode: Nous avons analysé les données nutritionnelles transversales, mesurées par des rappels de 24 heures, venant de 9 131 enfants et adolescents âgés de 4–18 ans ayant participé à l’Enquête sur la santé dans les collectivités canadiennes, cycle 2.2 (2004). Les CAE étaient les aliments consommés sur semaine entre 15 h et 18 h, excluant le dîner et le souper. Nous avons évalué la fréquence de consommation des aliments-collations, l’énergie qu’ils fournissent, ainsi que l’AET par groupe d’âge et par sexe.

Résultats: Environ 63 % des jeunes consommaient des CAE. Ces collations fournissaient en moyenne 1 212 kj [IC de 95 %: 1 157–1 268] (290 kcal [IC de 95 %: 276–303]), soit 13 % [IC de 95 %: 12–13] de l’AET. Les jeunes dont la prise de CAE fournissait 1–418 kJ (1–99 kcal) présentaient un apport énergétique total inférieur aux non-consommateurs de CAE. Parmi les consommateurs de CAE, l’AET était supérieur chez ceux qui présentaient un plus grand apport énergétique provenant des CAE. Les fruits faisaient partie des catégories d’aliments les plus fréquemment consommées. Toutefois, les aliments riches en énergie, comme les biscuits, les boissons sucrées et les sucreries, étaient les principales sources de calories.

Conclusion: Étant donné que la majorité des jeunes consommaient des CAE, que ces dernières représentaient environ 13 % de leur AET, et que la majorité des aliments-collations les plus fréquemment cités étaient généralement riches en énergie et pauvres en nutriments, le temps après l’école pourrait être l’occasion d’améliorer la qualité de la diète et d’influencer l’AET des jeunes Canadiens.

Key words

Energy intake eating food child youth body mass index 

Mots clés

apport énergétique aliments manger enfants jeunes indice de masse corporelle 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jo-Anne Gilbert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Doris Miller
    • 1
  • Shannon Olson
    • 1
  • Sylvie St-Pierre
    • 1
  1. 1.Office of Nutrition Policy and PromotionHealth CanadaOttawaCanada

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