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The increasing prevalence of obesity among youth has elicited calls for schools to become more active in promoting healthy weight. The present study examined associations between various aspects of school food environments (specifically the availability of snack- and beverage-vending machines and the presence of snack and beverage logos) and students’ weight status, as well as potential influences of indices of diet and food behaviours.
A cross-sectional, self-administered web-based survey. A series of multinomial logistic regressions with generalized estimating equations (GEE) were constructed to examine associations between school environment variables (i.e. the reported presence of beverage- and snack-vending machines and logos) and self-reported weight- and diet-related behaviours.
Secondary schools in Alberta, Canada.
A total of 4936 students from grades 7 to 10.
The presence of beverage-vending machines in schools was associated with the weight status of students. The presence of snack-vending machines and logos was associated with students’ frequency of consuming vended goods. The presence of snack-vending machines and logos was associated with the frequency of salty snack consumption.
The reported presence of snack- and beverage-vending machines and logos in schools is related to some indices of weight status, diet and meal behaviours but not to others. The present study supported the general hypothesis that the presence of vending machines in schools may affect students’ weight through increased consumption of vended goods, but notes that the frequency of ‘junk’ food consumption does not seem to be related to the presence of vending machines, perhaps reflecting the ubiquity of these foods in the daily lives of students.
To assess the overall diet quality of a sample of adolescents living in Alberta, Canada, and evaluate whether diet quality, nutrient intakes, meal behaviours (i.e. meal skipping and consuming meals away from home) and physical activity are related.
A cross-sectional study design. Students completed the self-administered Web-Survey of Physical Activity and Nutrition (Web-SPAN). Students were classified as having poor, average or superior diet quality based on Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating (CFGHE).
One hundred and thirty-six schools (37 %) within forty-four public and private school boards (75 %) in Alberta, Canada.
Grade 7 to 10 Alberta students (n 4936) participated in the school-based research.
On average, students met macronutrient requirements; however, micronutrient and fibre intakes were suboptimal. Median CFGHE food group intakes were below recommendations. Those with poor diet quality (42 %) had lower intakes of protein, fibre and low-calorie beverages; higher intakes of carbohydrates, fat and Other Foods (e.g. foods containing mostly sugar, high-salt/fat foods, high-calorie beverages, low-calorie beverages and high-sugar/fat foods); a lower frequency of consuming breakfast and a higher frequency of consuming meals away from home; and a lower level of physical activity when compared with students with either average or superior diet quality.
Alberta adolescents were not meeting minimum CFGHE recommendations, and thus had suboptimal intakes and poor diet quality. Suboptimal nutritional intakes, meal behaviours and physical inactivity were all related to poor diet quality and reflect the need to target these health behaviours in order to improve diet quality and overall health and wellness.
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