Public Health Nutrition

Monitoring and surveillance

Emerging obesity and dietary habits among James Bay Cree youth

Cynthia Bou Khalila1, Louise Johnson-Downa1 and Grace M Egelanda1 c1

a1 School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE), McGill University, Macdonald Campus, 21,111 Lakeshore Road, Ste Anne de Bellevue, H9X 3V9, Québec, Canada


Objective To describe dietary habits and extent of overweight and obesity among Cree youth.

Design Dietary intake and habits were assessed by a 24 h recall and FFQ as part of a cross-sectional survey.

Setting Three Cree communities in northern Québec, Canada.

Subjects A total of 125 youth aged 9–18 years.

Results Overall 67·6 % of the study population was either at risk of overweight or overweight. Over 98 % had a usual saturated fat intake over 10 % of energy while 65 % had a lower consumption of fruit/vegetables and 95 % had a lower consumption of milk and milk products than recommended by Canada’s Food Guide. The majority (96·8 %) consumed high-fat foods (>40 % of total energy as fat), which accounted for 39 % of total energy intake (EI). Similarly, 92·8 % consumed high-sugar food and beverages (>25 % of total energy as sugar), which accounted for 12·8 % of total EI. Furthermore, 95 % of the youth had a Healthy Eating Index (HEI) below the recommended score of 80 or above. Certain measures of diet quality (traditional food (TF) consumption, HEI and vegetables and fruit consumption) were significantly correlated with adiposity measures.

Conclusions A high prevalence of low-diet quality was found with a high degree of sugar and fat intake and a low consumption of vegetables/fruit and milk/milk alternates and any weekly TF. Dietary interventions are sorely needed.

(Received April 20 2009)

(Accepted January 20 2010)

(Online publication April 15 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Email