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    Brevoort Park School

    Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit

    Smart Cities, Healthy Kids


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    YOUR SCHOOLS PROFILEThank you, Brevoort Park School, for participating in the Smart Cities, Healthy Kidsproject.

    Smart Cities, Healthy Kidsis a three-year project sponsored by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research,

    the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the Health Research Foundation. We are centred in the

    Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU) at the University of Saskatchewan.

    Our goal is to conduct research that will be of direct benefit to our research participants, partners, andcommunities in general. We aim to provide information, ideas, and assistance to those who work with

    children to create innovative health intervention strategies. We are grateful for the opportunity to collect

    data within the school systems and are happy to provide our results to those who have participated in this

    study. This report focuses on the results from the Smart Cities, Healthy Kidsquestionnaire. We will continue

    to provide updated information from subsequent research phases, as it becomes available.

    Smart Cities, Healthy Kids is pleased to provide this results profile for your school. Sharing information with

    the community is made possible through the funding and support of the following organizations:

    University of Saskatchewan

    University of Regina

    City of Saskatoon

    Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation

    Research Unit

    Saskatoon Health Region

    Canadian Institutes of Health Research

    Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

    Health Research Foundation

    Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation

    The principal investigator for this project is Nazeem Muhajarine, PhD. For more information regarding this

    profile, the research project associated with it, or a complete list of contributing researchers, visit

    smartcitieshealthykids.com or contact:

    Tracy Ridalls

    Research Manager

    Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit

    (306) 966-2237

    [email protected]

    Note: Please interpret some results with caution. The data for this profile may or may not be representativeof your school due to small sample sizes. In particular, if your school has fewer than 20 participants in this

    study, your results may not be representative. However, you may still benefit from observing Saskatoon

    trends, which are reported in most areas for comparison.

    Throughout the report, you will find word bubbles titled In Their Own Words These quotations come

    directly from comments provided by students through the Smart Cities, Healthy Kids questionnaire, and

    provide unique insight into the student perspective.

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    Smart Cities, Healthy Kids: The Project 1

    Understanding the Issue: Childhood Obesity 2

    Participants from Your School 3

    Gender Distribution 3

    Grade Distribution 3

    Age Distribution 3

    Aboriginal Participants 3

    Home Neighbourhoods 4

    The Home Environment 4

    Student Personal Perceptions 5

    Body Weight 5

    Academic Performance 5

    Family and Peer Influences 6

    Family Members 6

    Friends and Peers 6

    Reasons for Inactivity 7

    Sedentary Behaviour 8

    Screen Time 8

    Sources of Physical Activity 9

    Gym Class 9

    Structured Activity 9

    Unstructured Activity 9

    The Neighbourhood Factor 10

    Park Access 10

    Neighbourhood Perceptions 10

    Active Transportation 11

    Food Consumption and Eating Habits 12

    The Food Environment: Our Sister Study 13

    References 14

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    SMART CITIES, HEALTHY KIDS: THE PROJECTThe goal of Smart Cities, Healthy Kidsis to understand how urban planning and design can be used to encourage

    children to be more physically active, thus slowing the rise in childhood obesity. Tackling the problem of childhood

    obesity requires multiple approaches. Many people, from health professionals, funders, policy makers, and

    researchers, to concerned parents, have identified environmental factors that can either help or hinder children

    and adults to live more active lifestyles. However, there has been little research into how aspects of the urban

    built environment in which we all livesuch as buildings, roadways, sidewalks, parks, and green spaces-can

    encourage children to be physically active. By learning about what is and isnt working in our current

    neighbourhoods in Saskatoon, this study will help shape the design of future neighbourhoods, here and elsewhere

    in Canada.

    Research Question 1: How have the specific planning strategies that the City of Saskatoon has

    used in its neighbourhoods contributed to the active living potential of these neighbourhoods?

    During the summers of 2009 and 2010, we assessed all 60 of Saskatoons residential neighbourhoods using two

    research surveys: Neighbourhood Active Living Potential (NALP) and Irvine-Minnesota Inventory (IMI). NALP is a 22-

    item survey that examines the activity friendliness, safety, density of destinations and universal accessibility of each

    neighbourhood. Activity friendliness measures how suited the neighbourhood is to human -powered activities

    such as walking, skateboarding, cycling, and wheelchair use. Safety measures physical and social characteristics

    of the neighbourhood. Density of destinations measures destinations within the neighbourhood that people can

    travel to, such as public parks, sports and recreational centres, bus stops, local events, and shops. IMI consists of

    229 neighbourhood features that fall within five domains: attractiveness; diversity of destinations; pedestrian

    access; safety from crime; and safety from traffic. With these two surveys, observers walked through all 60 of

    Saskatoons residential neighbourhoods and recorded what they encountered. Each neighbourhoods active

    living potential was then assessed based on the results. Reports summarizing the results for each neighbourhood

    can be found at smartcitieshealthykids.com.

    Research Question 2: What is the relationship between a neighbourhoods active living potential

    and the physical activity levels and active transportation of the children between 10 and 13 who

    live in that neighbourhood?We recruited 1,610 children to complete two, detailed physical activity questionnaires. The Smart Cities, Healthy

    Kids questionnaire was used to determine demographic information and self-perceptions related to physical

    activity. The Modifiable Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents (MAQ-A) was used to gather data on the registered

    and unregistered physical activities in which the children participate. A sub-group of 465 children was also

    recruited to wear accelerometers for a week. Accelerometers are small, waist-mounted instruments that measure

    physical activity directly. This report includes exclusively descriptive information from the Smart Cities, Healthy Kids


    Research Question 3: What do children and their parents think about the influence their

    neighbourhood has on childrens activity levels?

    The first two research questions examine the relationship between systematically measured aspects ofneighbourhoods and childrens physical activity. Question three recognizes the importance of how children and

    their parents feel about their neighbourhoods. To find out, we conducted in-depth interviews with 24 families

    whose children had participated in earlier parts of the study. Each child was lent a digital camera with which to

    take photographs of places and things that they feel help them to be active or prevent them from being active.

    These photos were discussed in the interviews with the children, and have been included in presentations of the

    research findings. In-depth interviews were also conducted with each parent about their perceptions of their

    neighbourhood environment.

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    Child health concerns in Canada have focused in recent years on rates of

    obesity and physical inactivity among children. Evidence points to a rising

    percentage of children that are overweight or obese and experiencing

    associated health problems. These trends are a cause for concern and

    indicate a significant childhood obesity and physical inactivity crisis. In

    fact, if the current trends continue, we will have a generation of childrengrowing up for the first time with poorer health status and lower life

    expectancy than that of their parents.

    What's the Prevalence of Childhood Obesity in Canada?

    In 2004, 26% of Canadian children and youth aged 2-17 years were

    overweight or obese, including 8% who were obese. Overweight and

    obesity among Canadian 2-5 year olds remained the same between 1979

    and 2004 (21%), with obesity reported at 6.3% in 2004. Overweight and

    obesity doubled among Canadian 6-11 year olds between 1979 and 2004

    and obesity tripled among Canadian adolescents aged 12-17 years.1

    What's the Prevalence of Childhood Obesity in Saskatchewan?

    In 2007/2008, one-quarter (25%) of youth in Saskatchewan were

    overweight or obese; this was a 16% increase over 2001. Notably, in the

    same year, more than half (57%) of youth in Saskatchewan were physically

    inactive, and the rate of inactivity rose more than 17% since 2001.

    Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines

    For health benefits, children (age 5 to 11) and youth (age 12 to 17) should get at least 60

    minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) daily. This should include vigorous-

    intensity activities (enough to raise your heart rate) at least 3 days per week and activities that

    strengthen muscle and bone at least 3 days per week. More daily physical activity provides

    greater health benefits.2

    Quick Fact:

    Only 7% of Canadian

    children and youth aremeeting the Canadian

    Physical Activity


    I think physical activity is

    important for when we'reyounger so we can be fit

    and healthy when we're


    Being physically active

    makes you have a

    healthier mind/body andmakes it easier to live.

    Without being fit the world

    would be an unhealthy


    Type 2 diabetes


    Sleep apnea

    Impaired balance

    Orthopedic problems

    Glucose intolerance and

    insulin resistance

    Low self-esteem

    Negative body image


    Negative stereotyping

    Teasing and bullying

    Social marginalization

    Health and Social Problems associated with Childhood Obesity3

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    PARTICIPANTSFROM YOUR SCHOOLThe Smart Cities, Healthy KidsPhysical Activity Questionnaire was completed by voluntary participants from grades

    5-8 students during spring 2010. Participation rates and demographics varied between schools. There were 1584

    total participants that completed the questionnaire. From your school, 45 students participated. The following

    graphs describe the participants from your school and how they compare to the participants from all schools.

    GenderDistribution Grade Distribution

    Age Distribution AboriginalParticipants

    The graph below shows the gender distribution of the

    participants from your school compared to the

    participants from all schools. Your school had a greater

    percentage of boys participate in the study. National

    studies show that more boys than girls tend to

    participate in school sports.5 Also, girls tend to be more

    influenced by peer participation than boys.6

    The graph below shows the grade distribution of the

    participants from your school compared to the

    participants from all schools. Students from your school

    tended to be from younger grades than the students

    from all schools who participated.

    The above graph shows the age distribution of the

    participants from your school compared to the

    participants from all schools. Your school had a greater

    percentage of 11-year-old participants than other

    schools that participated.

    The above graph shows the concentration of

    Aboriginal participants from your school compared to

    all schools. It is important to acknowledge that the

    Aboriginal population is more vulnerable, faces

    additional barriers to physical activity and sport

    participation than the general population, and is in

    need of tailored support and engagement strategies.7

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    Home Neighbourhoods

    The Home Environment

    The graph to the right shows the distribution of home

    neighbourhoods for the student participants. With the

    open school district, most schools had a wide range

    of home neighbourhoods represented in the student

    participant sample. This is important to recognize

    because it provides insight when analyzing topics

    such as active transportation, distance to park space,

    and participation in school activities.

    The graphs below show the parent-child living arrangements and number of siblings living in the same household

    for students from your school compared to students from all schools. The household context has been recognized

    as an important factor in sport participation rates in adolescents: the parent/guardian arrangement, family

    income, and other family members sports participation levels can all have an impact.8 This impact can be

    understood in a number of ways. A childs home environment can determine, for example, the type of adult

    modeling behaviour children could emulate, the number of other individuals with whom to engage in physical

    activity, the level of access to different types of activity (in terms of money, time, or transportation), and the level

    of support and encouragement provided.

    Briarwood, Holliston,Nutana, Queen

    Elizabeth, Wildwood

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    Body Weight

    Although external influences can have a strong impact on physical activity

    levels in children, so too can internal self-perceptions and self-esteem.

    Indeed, confidence levels can be important for children when engaging in

    activities that expose their vulnerability. The physical activity questionnaire

    included some questions about body weight and academic performance.

    We asked students to indicate how they felt about

    their own body weight. The graph to the right shows

    the percentage of students who felt they were over/

    underweight by 5 pounds or more and those who

    felt their weight was okay.

    A US study found that lower body satisfaction is

    associated with lower levels of physical activity in

    adolescents and higher levels of sedentary activity.9

    Another Canadian study found similar results in that

    self-perceptions of body composition and condition,

    as well as sport skills, were significant determinants of

    physical activity levels.10 Therefore, efforts aimed at

    encouraging active participation should stay away

    from approaches that could also contribute to

    decreased body satisfaction.

    Academic Performance

    The graph and chart to the left show how students at

    your school compare to how students at all schoolsperceive their academic performance and standing.

    Academic performance can be connected to

    physical activity. On one hand, school marks and

    student perceptions of academic performance have

    an effect on confidence levels, self-esteem, and

    perceptions of control over personal outcomes.11 Each

    of these can be a factor in student physical activity

    participation levels. On the other hand, physical

    activity is shown to have benefits for mental activity in

    children and youth12 and is positively linked to

    attention, memory, and executive functions (such as

    abstract thinking).13 Therefore, physical activity and

    academic performance can be self-reinforcing:

    greater physical activity levels can lead to better

    academic performance and vice versa. However,

    poor performance in either area could also have a

    negative impact on the other.

    Sometimes I feel

    embarrassed about

    doing something wrong

    in a sport.

    Student Perception of Academic Standing

    Grade Range (%) Brevoort Park All Schools

    80 and above 80% 74%70 to 79 14% 14%60 to 69 2% 6%59 and below 4% 6%

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    FAMILY AND PEER INFLUENCESChildrens behaviour can be influenced by the behaviours they observe in people around them. It is important to

    take into account the type and sources of behaviour modelling to which children are exposed.

    Family Members

    Friends and Peers

    The physical activity questionnaire asked the students

    how often they saw any of their family membersparticipate in sports or exercise activities over the

    previous 30 day period. The graph to the right shows

    the results from students from your school compared

    to students from all schools. It is important to note that

    several students never or rarely observe family

    members in exercise. National data suggests that few

    Canadian adults are meeting the Canadian Physical

    Activity Guidelines for Adults,4 which indicates that few

    parents are modelling appropriate physical activity

    levels for their children.

    Friends can also have a significant influence on

    childrens participation in physical activity.8 The

    physical activity questionnaire asked students how

    many of their closest friends exercise regularly and

    how often they had seen any of their friends

    participate in physical activity. The graphs to the right

    and below show results from your school compared to

    all schools. An Ontario study found that children are

    more likely to be active if 3 or more of their close

    friends are also physically active.14 Further, children

    report that participating in physical activity with

    friends increases their enjoyment of the activity.15

    However, it is important to note that peer influence

    can both encourage or discourage participation.

    I could bike to the

    park with my brother

    and sister cause theylove going to the park,

    so it would make me

    and them more active

    and healthier.

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    REASONS FOR INACTIVITYIf physical activity intervention and obesity prevention strategies for

    children are to be successful, it is important to understand why children are

    not meeting recommended physical activity guidelines. The Smart Cities,

    Healthy Kidsquestionnaire asked kids what kinds of things most often kept

    them from being active. The graph below highlights the reasons that

    students from all schools most identified with.

    I wish I had more time

    and got around to

    doing physical activity

    every day!


    I felt lazy

    Too much



    Not enough


    Couldnt get

    a ride

    Area was

    not safe

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    There has been a lot of focus recently in health intervention research

    on the role of sedentariness in childhood obesity. Children who are

    sedentary for several hours a day are less likely to meet the physical

    activity guidelines.16 Sedentary behaviour is associated with

    unfavourable body composition, decreased physical fitness,

    increased risk for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease,decreased self-esteem, behavioural problems and decreased

    academic achievement.17 Further, it has been found that health risks

    associated with sedentary behaviour increase as sedentary time


    Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for School-Aged Children18

    For health benefits, children (age 5 to 11) and youth (age 12 to 17) should minimize the time

    they spend being sedentary each day. This may be achieved by:

    1. Limiting recreational screen time to no more than 2 hours per day; lower levels are associated

    with additional health benefits.

    2. Limiting sedentary (motorized) transport, extended sitting, and time spent indoors throughout

    the day.

    Sedentary behaviour is timewhen teens are doing very little

    physical movement. Some

    examples are:

    Sitting for long periods

    Using motorized transportation

    (such as a bus or a car) Watching television

    Playing passive video games

    Playing on the computer

    Screen Time

    Sedentary behaviour is often associated with some form of screen

    time. The graph below displays how many hours per day students

    reported engaging in various forms of screen time, including

    watching TV or videos/DVDs, playing video games, or using thecomputer. Research shows that every hour of screen time children

    and youth accumulate translates into 1/3 of an hour less being

    physically active.5

    It would be good if

    parents gave a timing

    or a limit a day on the

    computer or on anyelectronics.

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    The graph to the left shows how many days

    per week students report attending gym

    class. Classroom time devoted to physical

    and health education curricula is important

    for the health of children and youth. The

    importance of this time is two-fold: it can

    both increase the time children spend

    being active, and provide them with health

    literacy that they can apply in their daily

    lives outside of the classroom.19 A study on

    the predictors of obesity found that each

    additional weekday that adolescents

    participated in physical education

    decreased their odds of being overweight

    as an adult by 5%.20

    Structured Activity

    Unstructured Activity

    Children involved in organized sports and

    physical activity programs have higher

    overall levels of physical activity21 and are

    more likely to meet the physical activity

    guidelines.16 The graph to the right shows

    how often students engaged in physical

    activities with a coach over a 30 day


    Physical activity doesnt have to be

    organized and scheduled. Indeed,

    unstructured forms of active play can help

    children increase their physical activity

    while also contributing to social,

    emotional, and cognitive development.19

    The graph to the right shows how often

    students engaged in physical activities

    without a coach over a 30 day period.

    It should be youdont have to be

    good at the sport to


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    Children with access to playgrounds, parks, and

    recreational facilities in their neighbourhoods are

    more likely to be physically active and less likely to be

    overweight.22 The graph to the right shows that most

    children in Saskatoon have adequate access to

    neighbourhood facilities, which is in line with other

    Canadian cities.19 However, several studies suggest

    that park access alone is not a strong determinant of

    park usage; other factors that influence park use are

    look of the park (upkeep and condition), presence of

    amenities (footpaths, wading pools, picnic tables),

    and safety.23

    Neighbourhood Perceptions

    Children are more likely to be active outside of school if they perceive their neighbourhood as safe.24 We asked

    the participants questions about their perception of safety in their home neighbourhood. The graph below shows

    the percentage of students who responded feeling safe, pretty safe, or very safe. It is important to note that

    very few children in Saskatoon felt unsafe in their neighbourhood.

    However, perhaps more importantly, parentsneed to perceive that their neighbourhood is safe if they are to allow

    their children the freedom to engage in independent play and mobility outside. A national survey suggests that

    18% of parents agree or strongly agree that safety concerns are an issue in their neighbourhood. 25 Neighbourhood

    safety concerns commonly cited by parents are harm from strangers, road safety, personal injury, and bullying. 26

    Indeed, parental perceptions of neighbourhood safety can have a strong impact on childrens physical activitylevels. Research shows that independent mobility in children has drastically reduced over time: in an effort to

    minimize safety risks to their children, parents have restricted their childrens free time away from adult

    supervision.27-31Having to coordinate active outdoor play with parents schedules and willingness to supervise may

    be a hindrance to the amount of unstructured activity children ultimately engage in, which may prove to be

    more harmful to their wellbeing in the end.

    The park should

    have more street

    lights to make it less


    This Smart Cities, Healthy Kidsstudy has a particular interest in understanding

    how a childs neighbourhood impacts their physical activity. Accordingly, the

    Smart Cities, Healthy Kids questionnaire asked the students some questions

    about park space and how safe they feel in their home neighbourhood.

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    Quick Fact:

    On a national level, the

    most commonly

    reported barrier to

    active transportation isthe distance between

    home and school.


    Some National Figures:34

    24% of parents say their children use

    only active modes of transportation in

    trips to and from school. (20% walk, 4%


    62% of parents say their children rely on

    only inactive modes of transportation in

    trips to and from school. (24% by car,

    34% by bus/train, 4% mixed modes)

    14% of parents say their children use a

    combination of active and inactive

    modes of transportation to and from


    With parent and school support, active transportation can be a safe

    and inexpensive way to increase physical activity levels. Some

    schools have explored ideas such as walking school buses, or

    policies requiring students be dropped off a safe walking distance

    from school or discouraging parents who live close by from driving

    their children to school.19 Research has shown that active

    transportation is most likely to be adopted if the built environment has

    strong street connectivity and pedestrian infrastructure, parents

    perceive the route to school to be safe, and families have strong

    social ties with neighbours and emotional satisfaction with their


    The graph below shows how often students from your school reported

    walking or biking to school compared with students from all schools.

    The two graphs below show the reasons for not walking or biking to school reported by students from your school

    compared to students from all schools. For comparison, a 2008-2009 National Family Intervention Survey reported

    reasons given by parents for motorized transportation included inclement weather (21%), convenience and time

    pressures (18%), driving somewhere else anyway (17%), distance to school is too far (16%), traffic danger (11%) and

    personal safety issues (11%).35

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    FOOD CONSUMPTION AND EATING HABITSPhysical activity alone is not sufficient to mitigate against obesity: proper nutrition must also be considered. There

    is a direct link between food consumption, nutrition, and overall health outcomes, including obesity. The Smart

    Cities, Healthy Kidsquestionnaire included some questions about each students food consumption patterns and

    eating habits. The results from this portion of the questionnaire provide a general impression of childrens food

    and nutrition health in Saskatoon. Smart Cities, Healthy Kidshas launched a sister study to further investigate the

    role of the food environment on childrens health. (The details of the study can be found on the following page.)

    Proper nutrition and food consumption habits contribute to better overall health, increase energy, provide strong-

    er muscles and bones, and lower the risk of chronic health problems.36Canadas Food Guide suggests children

    between ages 9-13 should consume 6 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, 3-4 daily servings of milk or milk al-

    ternatives, 6 daily servings of grain products, 1-2 daily servings of meat and meat alternatives, and should limit

    unsaturated fats.36 Consumption of saturated and trans-fats and sugar-sweetened drinks, along with missing

    breakfast, are all contributing risk factors associated with childhood obesity. 37-38 The charts below show your stu-

    dents self-reported food consumption patterns.

    drink pop,

    fruit drinks, or

    energy drinks?

    eat fast food?

    eat fruit?

    eat vegetables?

    drink milk?

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    Smart Cities, Healthy Kids has received additional funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the

    Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation for a sister study evaluating the impact of the food environment on

    childhood obesity. The food environment refers to how easily we, and our children, can access nutritious food in the

    neighbourhoods in which we live. We are interested in where food stores and restaurants are located in Saskatoon andhow nutritious the foods they carry are. By incorporating data on body weight of children, we ultimately hope to support

    the development of improvements to health policy and practice in Saskatoon, and also provide information that would

    benefit the nutrition and health of children and families.

    Question 1a: What is the geographical distribution of food stores and fast food restaurants in Saskatoon and

    how is this distribution related to neighbourhood demographic and socio-economic profiles?

    During the first four months of the study (September-December 2010), Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools were

    used to complete maps of fast food restaurants, grocery, convenience, specialty, and all other food stores in all

    Saskatoon neighbourhoods. This process has already been initiated by Public Health Services (Saskatoon Health Region);

    parts of the city where food access is limited have already been identified and can be related back to demographic

    and socio-economic profiles.

    Question 1b: What are the differences in food environments, such as location of different types of food

    stores and food quality, between higher and lower socioeconomic status neighbourhoods in


    The consumer nutrition environments of chain supermarkets, smaller grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants

    have been measured using a Canadian adaptation of the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for Stores (NEMS-S)

    and the original Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for Restaurants (NEMS-R). Scores will be calculated for each store

    using availability, quality, and price, and for each restaurant using availability, nutrition information, and price. Using these

    scores, we will then develop a series of maps showing the distribution of the quality of the food environment within all

    residential neighbourhoods in Saskatoon. We will also add selected demographic and socio-economic variables to

    assess the relationship between the food environment and neighbourhood income levels.

    Question 2: What is the relationship between the quality of the food environment available, as

    measured by (NEMS-S) and (NEMS-R), in Saskatoon neighbourhoods, and the dietary intake and body

    weights of children aged 10-13 years living in those neighbourhoods?

    We will recruit approximately 100 children from each of the 20 neighbourhoods that show the most and the least

    positive food environment characteristics based on the previous study data collection (GIS and NEMS). Children will

    participate in a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) for dietary assessment that will be self-administered in class. A

    research assistant will also measure heights and weights in order to calculate body mass index (BMI) and determine

    body weight status. The questionnaire includes questions on socio-demographic characteristics, and our analysis will

    account for things like parental educational level, parental income, proportion of families with no vehicles, and

    proportion of lone parent families.

    Question 3: How should the information collected in this study be shared in order to facilitate change

    that will improve food environments for Saskatoon, and then in other cities in other regions of the


    Interviews will be conducted with various governmental, health region, and community-based officials to share

    preliminary results, ask for feedback, and discuss policy change options to improve the food environment in Saskatoon.

    The results will be compiled into a document that will be disseminated widely.



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