Outdoor time and dietary patterns in children around the world

Jean-Philippe Chaput, Mark S Tremblay, Peter T Katzmarzyk, Mikael Fogelholm, Vera Mikkilä, Gang Hu, Estelle V. Lambert, Carol Maher, José Maia, Timothy Olds, Olga L Sarmiento, Martyn Standage, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Allana G LeBlanc

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Abstract

Background
Whether outdoor time is linked to dietary patterns of children has yet to be empirically tested. The objective of this study was to examine the association between outdoor time and dietary patterns of children from 12 countries around the world.

Methods
This multinational, cross-sectional study included 6229 children 9–11 years of age. Children self-reported the time that they spent outside before school, after school and on weekends. A composite score was calculated to reflect overall daily outdoor time. Dietary patterns were assessed using a food frequency questionnaire, and two components were used for analysis: healthy and unhealthy dietary pattern scores.

Results
On average, children spent 2.5 h outside per day. After adjusting for age, sex, parental education, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, screen time and body mass index z-score, greater time spent outdoors was associated with healthier dietary pattern scores. No association was found between outdoor time and unhealthy dietary pattern scores. Similar associations between outdoor time and dietary patterns were observed for boys and girls and across study sites.

Conclusions
Greater time spent outside was associated with a healthier dietary pattern in this international sample of children. Future research should aim to elucidate the mechanisms behind this association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e493-e501
JournalJournal of Public Health
Volume40
Issue number4
Early online date19 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Cite this

Chaput, J-P., Tremblay, M. S., Katzmarzyk, P. T., Fogelholm, M., Mikkilä, V., Hu, G., Lambert, E. V., Maher, C., Maia, J., Olds, T., Sarmiento, O. L., Standage, M., Tudor-Locke, C., & LeBlanc, A. G. (2018). Outdoor time and dietary patterns in children around the world. Journal of Public Health, 40(4), e493-e501. https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdy071