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Socio-economic status, dietary intake and 10 y trends: the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey


Objective: To study differences in dietary intake between adults with different socioeconomic status (SES) and trends over time.

Design: Cross-sectional study based on data of three Dutch National Food Consumption Surveys (DNFCS-1 1987/88; DNFCS-2 1992; DNFCS-3 1997/98), obtained from a panel by a stratified probability sample of the non-institutionalized Dutch population.

Subjects: A total of 6008 men and 6957 women aged 19 y and over.

Method: Dietary intake was assessed with a 2 day dietary record. Background information was obtained by structured questionnaire. Sociodemographic variables were available from panel information. SES, based on educational level, occupation and occupational position was categorized into (very) low, middle and high. Analysis of variance with age as covariable was used to explore the effects of SES on dietary intake and anthropometry. Statistical tests for trend were carried out with models in which week-weekend-day effects and an interaction term of time with SES were also included.

Results: The prevalence of obesity and skipping of breakfast was higher among people with a low SES. In all three surveys, subjects in the (very) low SES group reported having a higher consumption of potatoes, meat and meat products, visible fats, coffee and soft drinks (men only). Subjects with a high SES reported consuming more vegetables, cheese and alcohol. As regards nutrients, in all surveys a higher SES was associated with higher intake of vegetable protein, dietary fibre and most micronutrients. A higher SES was also associated with a lower fat intake but the differences between social classes were rather small and not consistent when the contribution of alcohol to energy intake was taken into account.

Conclusion: In general, dietary intake among subjects in higher SES groups tended to be closer to the recommendations of the Netherlands Food and Nutrition Council and this phenomenon was quite stable over a period of 10 y.

Sponsorship: The present study was supported by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports.

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Hulshof, K., Brussaard, J., Kruizinga, A. et al. Socio-economic status, dietary intake and 10 y trends: the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, 128–137 (2003).

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  • nutrition
  • inequalities
  • socio-economic status
  • lifestyle factors
  • dietary habits

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