Research Current Research| Volume 107, ISSUE 9, P1511-1518, September 2007

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The Influence of Sociodemographic Factors on Patterns of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Canadian Adolescents



      Poor dietary habits may increase risk for obesity and chronic diseases among Canadian adolescents.


      The aims of the present study were to: (a) establish the patterns of fruit and vegetable intake by Canadian adolescents, and (b) identify the impact of sociodemographic factors—including age, household income, household education, ethnicity, living arrangement, and location—on the pattern of fruit and vegetable intake in this population.


      This is a cross-sectional study using the data from the Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2.1, Public Use File. The survey used questions similar to a food frequency questionnaire.


      Total fruit and vegetable intake of 18,524 Canadian adolescents (12 to 19 years old) was cross-tabulated between two age groups (12 to 14 years old [n=7,410] and 15 to 19 years old [n=11,114]) by sex, level of household education, total household income, ethnicity, living arrangement, and geographical location.


      The data revealed that a 38.3% of Canadian adolescents in this study consumed fruits and vegetables five to 10 times per day; fewer older adolescents (15- to 19-year-olds) reported eating fruits and vegetables at that frequency as compared with the younger subgroup (12- to 14-year-olds) (P<0.001). Household education and income independently had a significant (P<0.001) positive impact on fruit and vegetable consumption. Females reported a significantly (P<0.05) higher frequency of intake than did males. Adolescents living in homes with only one parent reported a significantly (P<0.005) lower frequency of intake, as compared with adolescents living with two parents.


      These results may help to identify adolescent groups at risk for poor eating habits and support the implementation of programs to encourage higher fruit and vegetable intakes.
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      N. D. Riediger is a master of science student and M. H. Moghadasian is an associate professor, Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba and Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Medicine, St Boniface Hospital Research Centre, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.


      S. Shooshtari is an assistant professor, Department of Family Social Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.