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Edmonton, Canada

Stephenson F.F.,Data Integration | Johnston J.C.,University of Calgary | Riege T.,Nutrition and Food Services | Bandali F.,Population and Public Health | McNeil D.A.,University of Calgary
Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research | Year: 2013

Purpose: Healthy eating is a determinant of optimal growth, and schools provide an ideal setting in which to influence students' diets. The Healthy Eating Guidelines Initiative (HEGI) was a partnership among education, health, and community stakeholders to develop and implement healthy eating guidelines across a school jurisdiction. An evaluation was conducted to examine the potential impact of the HEGI on the school food environment and students' self-reported diets. Methods: All schools in the jurisdiction were invited to participate in the evaluation. Participating schools included elementary, middle, high, and mixed grades schools. A school environment assessment and a student questionnaire were used to collect data before and after the HEGI. Results: Twenty-two (71%) of 31 schools participated in the evaluation. The guidelines were successfully implemented in 17 of these 22 schools. Overall, a greater proportion of students reported healthier eating behaviours at the conclusion of the HEGI. In particular, a greater proportion of students in schools with cafeteria-style food service showed significantly improved self-reported dietary behaviours. These changes were not seen among students at schools with limited or no on-site food service. Conclusions: The findings are consistent with those of previous studies, and indicate that guidelines for a school jurisdiction can have a positive impact on the school food environment and students' food intake. The HEGI shows promise as a strategy to promote healthy eating among students. Source

Black J.L.,University of British Columbia | Day M.,Population and Public Health
Canadian Journal of Public Health | Year: 2012

Objective: The purpose of this study was to provide a descriptive profile of the availability of limited service food outlets surrounding public schools in British Columbia, Canada. Methods: Data from the 2010 Canadian Business Data Files were used to identify limited service food outlets including fast food outlets, beverage and snack food stores, delis and convenience stores. The number of food outlets within 800 metres of 1,392 public schools and the distance from schools to the nearest food outlets were assessed. Multivariate regression models examined the associations between food outlet availability and school-level characteristics. Results: In 2010, over half of the public schools in BC (54%) were located within a 10-12 minute walk from at least one limited service food outlet. The median closest distance to a food outlet was just over 1 km (1016 m). Schools comprised of students living in densely populated urban neighbourhoods and neighbourhoods characterized by lower socio-economic status were more likely to have access to limited service food outlets within walking distance. After adjusting for school-level median family income and population density, larger schools had higher odds of exposure to food vendors compared to schools with fewer students. Conclusion: The availability of and proximity to limited service food outlets vary widely across schools in British Columbia and school-level characteristics are significantly associated with food outlet availability. Additional research is needed to understand how food environment exposures inside and surrounding schools impact students' attitudes, food choices and dietary quality. © Canadian Public Health Association, 2012. Source

Cushon J.,Public Health Observatory | Creighton T.,Public Health Observatory | Kershaw T.,Public Health Observatory | Marko J.,Public Health Observatory | Markham T.,Population and Public Health
Chronic Diseases and Injuries in Canada | Year: 2013

Introduction: We explored food access and balance in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada in relation to material and social deprivation. Methods: We mapped the location of all large supermarkets and fast food retailers in Saskatoon. Supermarket accessibility index scores and food balance scores were compared to material and social deprivation indexes to determine significant associations. Results: Our results indicate that the poorest access to supermarkets occurred in areas west of the South Saskatchewan River and also in suburban areas around the perimeter of the city. Areas west of the river are some of the most deprived areas in the city. Saskatoon's mean food balance ratio of 2.3 indicates that access favours fast food. However, we did not find a clear pattern or clear socio-economic gradient for most measures. Conclusion: This study highlights the importance of contextual studies of food access. This study also highlighted a number of other issues that should be explored in the Saskatoon context such as individual-level food consumption patterns, mobility, temporal dimensions of food access and economic access as well as interventions that could improve food access in the city. Source

Hasing M.E.,University of Alberta | Lee B.E.,University of Alberta | Preiksaitis J.K.,University of Alberta | Tellier R.,University of Calgary | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2013

The public health impact of the emergence of new norovirus (NoV) strains is uncertain. A biennial pattern of alternating quiescent and epidemic levels of NoV outbreak activity associated with the emergence of new GII.4 variants was observed in Alberta, Canada, between July 2000 and June 2008. In this study, NoV genogroup I (GI) and GII strains isolated from 710 outbreak specimens in Alberta between July 2008 and January 2013 were characterized to update historical data. The seasonality and annual variation in NoV outbreak burden were analyzed over a 10-year period (July 2002 to June 2012). We found that GII.4-2006b had persisted as the predominant variant over three observation periods (July 2006 to June 2009) during which the biennial NoV outbreak pattern continued. The emergence of GII.4-2010 (winter 2009) was not associated with increased outbreak activity, and outbreak activity between July 2009 and June 2012 when GII.4-2010 predominated (67.5 to 97.7%) did not follow a biennial pattern. GII.4-2012 first emerged in Alberta in September 2011 and became predominant in observation period July 2012 to June 2013. NoV GI, relatively rare in past years, had a higher activity level (37.3%) as represented by GI.6 and GI.7 in the winter of 2012 to 2013. A higher proportion of GI outbreaks occurred in non-health care facility settings compared to GII. Our study suggests that factors other than new variants emergence contribute to the levels of NoV outbreak activity in Alberta. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology. Source

Poon B.T.,University of British Columbia | Holley P.C.,University of British Columbia | Louie A.M.,Amber Louie Counselling and Consulting | Springinotic C.M.,Population and Public Health
Canadian Journal of Public Health | Year: 2015

Objective: The objective of this paper was to describe results of a public health-administered, provincial dental survey of children aged 4–6 years old in British Columbia, and assess the changes in rates of dental caries geographically and by neighbourhood socio-economic status between baseline (2006/07) and follow-up data collection (2009/10). Method: The study design involved two retrospective cohorts of kindergarten children who received a public health-administered dental assessment in the years 2006/07 and 2009/10. Neighbourhood socio-economic status was measured by an index created from Canadian Census and Tax Filer data sets. The dental outcomes included previous decay experience, untreated visible decay, and urgent treatment needs. Results: The analysis comprised dental outcomes for 35,602 kindergarten children in 2006/07 and 35,215 children in 2009/10. There was a modest decrease in dental decay rates between surveys, with rates of decay experience – previous and untreated – of 38.9% and 36.7% respectively. However, there were disparities, with almost 50% of children with dental decay in the most socio-economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and approximately 30% with dental decay in the least disadvantaged areas. Conclusion: The kindergarten dental survey had extensive coverage, was at the population level, and enabled analysis of change in early childhood dental decay rates over time and by geography. Although overall rates improved, dental health inequalities persisted in both survey years at both regional and neighbourhood levels. © 2015, Canadian Public Health Association. All rights reserved. Source

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