UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Nutritional quality of the food choices of Canadian children Hack, Salma; Jessri, Mahsa; L’Abbé, Mary R.


Background The release of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), Nutrition 2015 provides a unique opportunity since CCHS 2004 to investigate food choices of Canadian children and adolescents at a national level. Objective This study examined the quality and quantity of food choices of children ages 2–8 years and adolescents 9–18 years, using Health Canada’s Surveillance Tool Tier System 2014. It is hypothesized that Canadian children and adolescents are consuming diets poor in nutritional quality based on evidence from the last national nutrition survey in 2004. Design Intakes from CCHS 2015, 24-h dietary recall were categorized into Health Canada’s Tiers 1–4, based on CNF/CFG classification system and thresholds for nutrients to limit i.e., total fat, saturated fats, sugars, and sodium to assess quality of food choices. Additionally, dietary intakes were grouped according to Canada’s 2007 food guide servings as the 2019 food guide was not available. Results Majority of foods reported by children 2–18 years were categorized as Tier 2 and Tier 3 foods. Investigation of energy contributions from the Tier 4 and “other foods” represented 21–25% of daily calorie intake and of these foods, high fat and/or high sugar foods contributed majority of daily calories to these categories. Conclusions This study showed Canadian children 2–18 years are consuming diets high in nutrients recommended to limit. Evidence from this study provides a unique opportunity to improve the nutritional quality of foods, and the food choices of children.

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