Geography influences dietary intake, physical activity and weight status of adolescents

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Purpose. The purpose of this study was to assess rural and urban differences in the dietary intakes, physical activity levels and weight status of a large sample of Canadian youth in both 2005 and 2008. Materials and Methods. A cross-sectional study of rural and urban adolescents (n=10,023) in Alberta was conducted in both 2005 and 2008 using a web-based survey. Results. There was an overall positive change in nutrient intakes between 2005 and 2008; however, rural residents generally had a poorer nutrient profile than urban residents (P<.001). They consumed less fibre and a greater percent energy from saturated fat. The mean physical activity scores increased among rural youth between 2005 and 2008 (P<.001), while remaining unchanged among urban youth. Residence was significantly related to weight status in 2005 (P=.017), but not in 2008. Conclusion. Although there were small improvements in nutrient intakes from 2005 to 2008, several differences in the lifestyle behaviours of adolescents living in rural and urban areas were found. The results of this study emphasize the importance of making policy and program recommendations to support healthy lifestyle behaviours within the context of the environments in which adolescents live. © 2012 Shauna M. Downs et al.




Downs, S. M., Fraser, S. N., Storey, K. E., Forbes, L. E., Spence, J. C., Plotnikoff, R. C., … McCargar, L. J. (2012). Geography influences dietary intake, physical activity and weight status of adolescents. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2012.

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