Public Health Nutrition

Social, economic, political and environmental determinants

Associations of television viewing, physical activity and dietary behaviours with obesity in aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadian youth

Carmina Nga1 p1 c1, T Kue Younga2 and Paul N Coreya2

a1 Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

a2 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada


Objective To determine associations of diet, physical activity and television (TV) viewing time with obesity among aboriginal and non-aboriginal youth in conjunction with socio-economic variables.

Design Cross-sectional study of differences between aboriginal and non-aboriginal groups and associations between lifestyle and socio-economic factors with obesity were examined.

Setting Population data from the Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 2·2 conducted in 2004 in the ten provinces of Canada.

Subjects A total of 198 aboriginal and 4448 non-aboriginal Canadian youth aged 12–17 years.

Results Compared to non-aboriginal youth, physical activity participation among aboriginal youth was higher, but consumption of vegetables and dairy products was lower, and more aboriginal youth were ‘high’ TV watchers. Low income adequacy was associated with decreased odds for obesity among aboriginal youth in contrast to higher odds among non-aboriginal youth. Non-aboriginal ‘high’ TV watchers consumed more soft drinks and non-whole-grain products than did ‘low’ TV watchers. Physical activity participation did not differ between ‘high’ and ‘low’ TV watchers for both groups, and was associated with lowered odds for obesity only among aboriginal youth.

Conclusions Sociodemographic and lifestyle risk factors associated with obesity differ between aboriginal and non-aboriginal youth. These findings may be useful for guiding intervention efforts.

(Received May 06 2009)

(Accepted February 28 2010)

(Online publication May 04 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Email

p1 Correspondence address: Dalla Lana School of Public Health, 155 College Street, Room 547, Toronto, ON M5T 3M7 Canada