Background: Physical activity interventions targeting weight status have yielded mixed results. This variability may be attributed to compensatory changes in dietary patterns after increasing physical activity (PA) levels. Therefore, we sought to determine whether dietary patterns varied with time spent in vigorous-intensity PA in youth. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of 330 youth enrolled in a school-based prospective cohort in central Alberta. Physical activity was assessed with waist mounted accelerometers (Actical) worn for 7 days. Main outcomes included consumption of unhealthy foods and the unhealthy food index obtained from a validated web-based 24-hour dietary recall instrument. Secondary outcomes included macronutrient intake, food group (Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating) intake, and diet quality. Results: Compared with youth participating in < 7 min/ day of vigorous physical activity, those achieving ≥ 7 min/day displayed no change in healthy or unhealthy food consumption. However, linear regression suggests a modest association between diet quality and vigorous-intensity PA. Conclusion: These data demonstrate that in this cohort of Canadian youth, time spent being physically active is associated with healthier dietary patterns and not with increased consumption of unhealthy foods.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Diet quality
- Unhealthy eating
- Vigorous intensity physical activity