Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Dietary Patterns of Adults in Quebec and Their Nutritional Adequacy

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Public Health

Dietary Patterns of Adults in Quebec and Their Nutritional Adequacy

Article excerpt


The purpose of this study was to indentify dietary patterns among adults in Quebec and to determine their relationship to nutritional adequacy of the diet. We used 24-hour food recall data on 2,104 adults from the Quebec nutrition survey (1990). Nutritional adequacy was assessed based on the 1990 Nutrition Recommendations for Canadians; dietary patterns were assessed via a factor analysis of the 30 food groups consumed. The three major patterns identified ('high-energy density', 'traditional' and 'health-conscious') explained 185 of the variation in food intake. Only the 'health-conscious' pattern corretated positively with the four chosen indicators of nutritional adequacy. Generally, men scored positively on the 'hihg-energy density' and the 'traditional' pattern whereas women scored positively on the 'healthconscious' pattern. Aside from sex, scoring was most related to age and education. The use of these patterns to define and target nutrition interventions should be tested in the aim of improving the effectiveness of health promotion.


Cette etude visait a identifier les habitudes alimentaires de la population adulte du Quebec et a verifier leu relation avec la qualite nutritionnelle de l'alimentation. Nous avons utilise les rappels alimentaires de 24 heures effectues chez 2 104 adultes lors de l'enquete provinciale sur la nutrition (1990). La qualite nutritionnelle a ete determinee en fonction des Recommandations sur la nutrition de 1990 et des habitudes alimentaires par une analyse factorielle des 30 groupes d'aliments consommes. Les principaux habitudes indentifies ('densite energetique elevee', 'traditionnel', et 'sante') expliquaient 18% de la variance dans l'apport alimentaire. Seul l'habitude 'sante' etait correle positivement avec les quatre indicateurs de la qualite nutritionnelle retenus. Generalement, les hommes avaient un resultat positif pour les habitudes 'densite energetique elevee' et 'traditionnel' et les femmes pour l'habitude 'sante'. Outre le sexe, les scores ont surtout varie en fonction de l'age et du niveau d'education. L'utilisation de ces habitudes pour definir et cibler des interventions en nutrition devrait etre testee en vue d'ameliorer les efforts de promotion de la sante.

Given that many combinations of foods can lead to an adequate diet and that nutrients do not normally occur in isolation, there is increasing interest in examining patterns of food intake as opposed to intakes of individual nutrients or of groups of nutrients.1-10 A better understanding of such patterns in different populations could be useful for health promotion as well as for estimating risks.

The purpose of this study was to identify major food patterns in the adult population of Quebec, and to determine their relationship with overall nutritional adequacy and with selected population characteristics.


We used data (24-hour food recall and sociodemographic) from the Provincial Nutrition Survey carried out in 1990 among 2,118 adults (18-74 years) from different regions. Excluding pregnant women and subjects without anthropometric data left a sample of 2,104. Food consumption data were originally analyzed by Health Canada: the amount consumed for each of 32 nutrients and macro-nutrients and for 147 food groups was assessed for each subject. Sociodemographic data were originally analyzed by Sante Quebec. All data were transferred to Universite Laval to be further analyzed with the Statistical Analysis System, version 6.08 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC). The 147 food groups were then combined into 30 larger food variables listed in Table I.

Dietary patterns

We used factor analysis (principal component) with varimax rotation to identify a relatively small number of components (food or dietary patterns) that summarize the information on average consumption of the 30 food groups and their relationships.11 Each component identified was interpreted via its correlation (factor loadings) with the original variables (amount in grams of the 30 food groups). …

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