Dietary intake and development of a quantitative food-frequency questionnaire for a lifestyle intervention to reduce the risk of chronic diseases in Canadian First Nations in north-western Ontario

Sangita Sharma, Xia Cao, Joel Gittelsohn, Lara S Ho, Elizabeth Ford, Amanda Rosecrans, Stewart Harris, Anthony Jg Hanley, Bernard Zinman
Public Health Nutrition 2008, 11 (8): 831-40

OBJECTIVES: To characterise the diet of First Nations in north-western Ontario, highlight foods for a lifestyle intervention and develop a quantitative food-frequency questionnaire (QFFQ).

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey using single 24 h dietary recalls.

SETTING: Eight remote and semi-remote First Nations reserves in north-western Ontario.

SUBJECTS: 129 First Nations (Oji-Cree and Ojibway) men and women aged between 18 and 80 years.

RESULTS: The greatest contributors to energy were breads, pasta dishes and chips (contributing over 20 % to total energy intake). 'Added fats' such as butter and margarine added to breads and vegetables made up the single largest source of total fat intake (8.4 %). The largest contributors to sugar were sugar itself, soda and other sweetened beverages (contributing over 45 % combined). The mean number of servings consumed of fruits, vegetables and dairy products were much lower than recommended. The mean daily meat intake was more than twice that recommended. A 119-item QFFQ was developed including seven bread items, five soups or stews, 24 meat- or fish-based dishes, eight rice or pasta dishes, nine fruits and 14 vegetables. Frequency of consumption was assessed by eight categories ranging from 'Never or less than one time in one month' to 'two or more times a day'.

CONCLUSION: We were able to highlight foods for intervention to improve dietary intake based on the major sources of energy, fat and sugar and the low consumption of fruit and vegetable items. The QFFQ is being used to evaluate a diet and lifestyle intervention in First Nations in north-western Ontario.

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