UBC Theses and Dissertations
Examining the associations between socioeconomic status and school-day dietary intake among Vancouver children and adolescents Ahmadi, Naseam
Background: The majority of Canadian children and adolescents (9 to 18 years old) are not meeting Canada’s Food Guide recommendations for healthy eating. Moreover, evidence suggests that SES and dietary quality are positively associated. Yet little is known about the influence of parents, peers, and food purchasing practices on the associations between SES and dietary intake or about whether these associations are pertinent in the school context. The primary objective of this study is therefore to explore associations between SES and school-day dietary intake among Vancouver youth, before and after controlling for psychosocial factors and food purchasing practices. Methods: In 2012, grade 5-8 students (n=950 from 26 schools) completed a school-based survey and reported school-day intake of vegetables, whole grains, low fat milk, packaged snack foods, and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). Multivariate logistic regression examined associations between parent education and food security status with dietary intake, before and after controlling for peer modeling and parental normative beliefs of dietary intake, and frequency of purchasing food on school days. Results: Compared to students whose parents completed high school or less, students whose parents completed some college were significantly more likely to consume vegetables daily on school days (unadjusted OR=1.85, 95% CI=1.06, 3.22). Compared to food insecure students, food secure students were significantly less likely to consume SSB daily on school days (unadjusted OR=0.51, 95% CI=0.28, 0.93). Both vegetable and SSB intake were not significantly associated with SES measures in final adjusted models. In adjusted models, compared to students whose parents completed high school or less, students whose parents completed college or university were significantly less likely to consume packaged snacks daily on school days (adjusted OR=0.61, 95% CI=0.42, 0.90). Parent education and food security status were not significantly associated with the remaining dietary intake outcomes. Conclusions: SES was significantly associated with three of five dietary outcomes; however, we did not find that either SES measure was consistently a significant determinant of dietary intake across foods categories. Overall, there is room for improvement in dietary intake of Vancouver children and adolescents on school days and school nutrition interventions would benefit all students.
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