"In addition to basic health education, this study identifies a need in how we're dealing with poverty and recognizing there's more to poverty than simply the number of dollars people have. Many families live in places that might not be very healthy for them and, as a result, they make unhealthy food choices."
A companion study involving the same group of preschoolers also looked at the types of foods they ate and whether they followed recommendations in Canada's Food Guide.
Researchers found that just 30 per cent of children ate enough fruits and vegetables, and 23.5 per cent consumed the recommended amount of servings of grain products. The same problem did not exist with milk and meat or alternativesa respective 91 per cent and 94 per cent of kids ate recommended servings.
Poor neighbourhood, poor food choices
As with sweetened beverages, children from low- and medium-income neighbourhoods were more likely than kids in high-income areas to eat foods like potato chips, fries, candies and chocolate.
Those results presented an "alarming pattern," said Spence, who suggests it is possible families are choosing high-calorie foods because they are cheap and convenient. But, he added, the neighbourhood itself could also be a factor in food choices.
"There are cities in North America where, literally, you have food deserts. If you wanted to go out and buy some lettuce and tomatoes, you'd have to travel very farvery likely without a car. You're not going to do that every time you want to get some food, so maybe you're going to resort to the convenience store down the road."
At least one glimmer of hope is that children who attended daycare or
|Contact: Bryan Alary|
University of Alberta