Worldwide, a poor diet quality is the principal cause of premature death. In order to improve knowledge of the overall effect of diet, scales of diet quality have been developed. These scales include several dietary components (foods or nutrients) which have shown a beneficial or detrimental effect on health. Better diet quality has been associated with many beneficial health effects. Despite the importance of determining diet quality with the use of scales, few studies have been done in our populations.
This research program will use six different scales to measure diet quality among Canadians, the elderly of Québec, Nunavik Inuit, and Polynesians. The effects of diet quality will be analyzed in relation to cardiometabolic and cognitive health.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are aggressively marketed to children and their consumption is a modifiable risk factor for overweight. On the other hand, non-bottled water is barely marketed and constitutes the optimal beverage to ensure hydration. Moreover, water consumption prevents overweight when replacing sweetened beverages.
This program will also test the effects of the ReachforWater (VisezEau®) intervention on overweight among children of primary school age in Québec. ReachforWater's mandate includes facilitating easy access to non-bottled water as well as its optimal use as a collective resource. ReachforWater will deploy its strategies in 36 primary schools and the homes of 3600 students. The schools will receive new attractive water stations providing cool filtered water with a bottle-filling device. Students will receive a personal water bottle and a carafe (to bring home). The educational activities will take place at childcare services and at home. Their focus is on facilitating access to water and rendering it fun and educational.
These research projects propose approaches which are useful and practical. The results will inform the best orientation of public health policies aiming to improve population health.