Nutrition inequities in Canada

Tarasuk, Valerie; Fitzpatrick, Sandra; Ward, Heather
April 2010
Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism;Apr2010, Vol. 35 Issue 2, p172
Academic Journal
In Canada, increased morbidity and shorter life expectancy have been found among those with lower incomes and lower levels of education, but there has been little examination of socioeconomic variation in food and nutrient intake. Using data from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey, we examined the relationship between household income and education level and adults' and children's intakes of energy, fibre, micronutrients, and number of servings consumed of food groups from Canada's Food Guide. To explore the public health significance of observed associations, we estimated the prevalence of inadequacy for selected nutrients for adults, stratifying by household income, education level, and sex. We found that a higher household income adequacy and (or) higher levels of education were associated with increased consumption of milk and alternatives, and vegetables and fruit, and significantly higher vitamin, mineral, and fibre intakes among both adults and children. The prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes among adults was higher among adults with the lowest level of income adequacy or educational attainment, compared with others. Our results suggest that the nutritional quality of Canadians' food intakes is, in part, a function of their social position. The impact of policy and program interventions needs to be examined across socioeconomic strata to ensure that actions reduce rather than exacerbate nutrition inequities.


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