HALO Senior Scientist Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput is second author on a paper, “An exploration of reported food intake among inmates who gained body weight during incarceration in Canadian federal penitentiaries,” that was recently published in PLoS One. Citation details and a summary of the paper are below.
Johnson C, Chaput JP, Rioux F, Diasparra M, Richard C, Dubois L. An exploration of reported food intake among inmates who gained body weight during incarceration in Canadian federal penitentiaries . PLoS One. 2018 Dec 18;13(12):e0208768.
BACKGROUND: Canadian penitentiaries have recently been shown to be obesogenic. However, little is known about the eating habits of inmates who gained weight while living in the prison environment. METHODS: This retrospective cohort study examined the reported food intake of inmates during incarceration in federal penitentiaries. During a face to face interview, anthropometric measures (2016-2017) were taken and compared to anthropometric data at the beginning of incarceration (mean follow-up of 5.0 ± 8.3 years). Self-reported data on food intake were collected via a food frequency questionnaire. RESULTS: Inmates who gained the most weight (15.7 kg) during incarceration reported not eating vegetables. They were followed by inmates who gained 14.3 kg and reported not eating fruit. Other inmates who gained a significant amount of weight reported not eating cereal, dairy or legumes. Moreover, inmates’ weight gain was also assessed by special diets: inmates following a religious diet (4.5 kg) or a diet of conscience (-0.3 kg) gained less weight than inmates not following a diet (5.8 kg). In comparison to other types of diets, inmates on a medical diet gained the most weight (7.5 kg). Furthermore, inmates who gained significant weight (8.0 kg) also reported not purchasing healthy foods from the commissary store (or “canteen”), whereas inmates who gained less weight (4.8 kg) reported purchasing healthy foods from the commissary store (or “canteen”). The observed weight gain was positively associated with food purchased from the commissary store (or “canteen”), but was not associated with the feeding system of the penitentiary (tray, cafeteria or meal plan). DISCUSSION: Food intake during incarceration is a modifiable risk factor that could be the target of weight management interventions with inmates. Our findings suggest that inmates who gained the most weight also reported having low intake of foods deemed healthy (vegetables, fruit, cereal, dairy and legumes) from food services and from the commissary store (or “canteen”) purchases.
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