Unhealthy dietary and physical inactivity patterns inspired many initiatives promoting healthy youth and healthy schools in Alberta between 2005 and 2008. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in the prevalence of lifestyle risk factors for type 2 diabetes (T2D) between two province-wide samples of Alberta adolescents (2005 and 2008).
The dietary and physical activity (PA) patterns of Alberta youth were assessed in two cross-sectional studies of grade 7-10 students, one in 2005 (n=4936) and one in 2008 (n=5091), using a validated web-survey. For each diabetes risk factor, participants were classified as either at risk or not at risk, depending on their survey results relative to cut-off values. Chi-square tests and logistic regression models were used to determine differences in risk factor prevalence between 2005 and 2008.
Compared to 2005, mean BMI, energy intake, fat intake, glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) were lower in 2008 (p<0.05); and carbohydrate, protein, fibre and vegetable and fruit intakes were higher in 2008 (p<0.05). In 2008, a lower proportion of students were: overweight, obese, consuming high GI, high GL, high fat, low fibre, low veg/fruit intake (p<0.05). No differences existed in magnesium or PA levels between the two time points.
Improvements were observed between 2005 and 2008 in terms of the proportion of adolescents having specific risk factors for T2D. The cause of these changes could not be determined. Continued monitoring of adolescent lifestyle habits and monitoring of exposure to health promotion programming is recommended.