Due to differences in food cultures, dietary quality measures, such as the Mediterranean Diet Score, may not be easily adopted by other countries. Recently, the Baltic Sea Diet Pyramid was developed to illustrate healthy choices for the diet consumed in the Nordic countries. We assessed whether the Baltic Sea Diet Score (BSDS) based on the Pyramid is associated with a decreased risk of obesity and abdominal obesity. The population-based cross-sectional study included 4720 Finns (25-74 years) from the National FINRISK 2007 study. Diet was assessed using a validated FFQ. The score included Nordic fruits and berries, vegetables, cereals, ratio of PUFA:SFA and trans-fatty acids, low-fat milk, fish, red and processed meat, total fat (percentage of energy), and alcohol. Height, weight and waist circumference (WC) were measured and BMI values were calculated. In a multivariable model, men in the highest v. lowest BSDS quintile were more likely to have normal WC (OR 0·48, 95 % CI 0·29, 0·80). In women, this association was similar but not significant (OR 0·65, 95 % CI 0·39, 1·09). The association appeared to be stronger in younger age groups (men: OR 0·23, 95 % CI 0·08, 0·62; women: OR 0·17, 95 % CI 0·05, 0·58) compared with older age groups. Nordic cereals and alcohol were found to be the most important BSDS components related to WC. No association was observed between the BSDS and BMI. The present study suggests that combination of Nordic foods, especially cereals and moderate alcohol consumption, is likely to be inversely associated with abdominal obesity.
We investigated behavioural and socio-economic factors associated with obesity and weight dissatisfaction among Finnish adolescents.
A total of 60,252 Finnish adolescents aged 14 to 16 years filled in a questionnaire about their health, health behaviour and socio-economic background. Food choices were obtained by using a short food-frequency questionnaire. Obesity was defined as a weight at least 120% of the sex- and height-specific mean weight for subjects.
Of girls and boys, 54% and 66%, respectively, were satisfied with their weight. Among dissatisfied normal-weight adolescents, 81% of girls but only 48% of boys thought they were overweight. Of obese boys, 25% were satisfied with their weight. For both genders, obesity and weight dissatisfaction were associated with economic problems in the family. In girls, an association was also found with poor school performance, low educational level of parents and not having evening meals at home; and in boys, with physical inactivity and not eating school lunch. Smoking was more common among girls who were dissatisfied with their weight. Differences in food choices were small between different weight and weight satisfaction categories.
Having normal weight and being satisfied with that weight are favourable for an adolescent. Obesity and weight dissatisfaction are associated mostly with disadvantageous health behaviours and low socio-economic status. Health behaviour seems to be associated more with weight satisfaction than with actual weight.
The aim of this study was to investigate the associations of age and education with types of leisure-time physical activity in a population sample of Finnish adults.
The sample, part of the National FINRISK Study, comprised 1940 men and 2497 women age 25 to 64 years. Self-reported questionnaires were used to collect data on education and leisure-time physical activity. Overall leisure-time physical activity was further divided into conditioning and daily physical activity.
In men and women, age had an inverse association with conditioning physical activity but not with daily and overall leisure activity. Strong direct associations were found between education and conditioning and overall leisure activity.
All age groups report fairly similar levels of overall and daily levels of leisure-time physical activity, but the levels differ across educational groups. In health promotion, more emphasis should be targeted to the population groups with lower education.
We investigated the association between estimated aerobic fitness and cardiovascular risk factors, and how the association is affected by abdominal obesity.
Cross-sectional population study.
Participants comprised 3820 adults aged 25 to 64 years from the FINRISK 2002 Study in Finland. Aerobic fitness was estimated using a non-exercise test. Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), blood pressure, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides, HDL-C to total cholesterol ratio, and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) levels were measured by standardized methods.
After controlling for age, smoking and alcohol consumption, aerobic fitness was inversely associated with systolic (P=0.027) and diastolic (P
To study the awareness of the Heart Symbol in different age and educational groups, and changes in the awareness over a 9-year period. In addition, the reported use of products with the symbol was examined.
A series of annual cross-sectional postal surveys on Health Behaviour and Health among the Finnish Adult Population.
A random sample (n 5000 per annum) from the Finnish population aged 15-64 years, drawn from the National Population Register, received a questionnaire.
Men and women (n 29 378) participating in the surveys in 2000-2009.
At the early 2000s, 48 % of men and 73 % of women reported to be familiar with the symbol. The corresponding rates were 66 % for men and 91 % for women in 2009. The reported use of products with the symbol increased from 29 % to 52 % in men and from 40 % to 72 % in women. In men, the awareness did not vary by age, whereas older women (45-64 years) were less likely to be aware of the symbol compared with younger women (25-34 years). Men and women with the highest education were best aware of the symbol and more likely to use the products in the early 2000s. The educational differences diminished or disappeared during the study period.
The majority of Finnish adults are familiar with the Heart Symbol, and the reported use of such products increased in all age and educational groups, especially among the less educated. The symbol may work as an effective measure to diminish nutrition-related health inequalities.
Comment In: Public Health Nutr. 2012 Mar;15(3):483-5; discussion 48621859506
The health-related effects of the Nordic diet remain mostly unidentified. We created a Baltic Sea Diet Score (BSDS) for epidemiological research to indicate adherence to a healthy Nordic diet. We examined associations between the score and nutrient intakes that are considered important in promoting public health. We also examined the performance of the BSDS under two different cut-off strategies.
The cross-sectional study included two phases of the National FINRISK 2007 Study. Diet was assessed using a validated FFQ. Food and nutrient intakes were calculated using in-house software. Nine components were selected for the score. Each component was scored according to both sex-specific consumption quartiles (BSDS-Q) and medians (BSDS-M), and summed to give the final score values.
A large representative sample of the Finnish population.
Men (n 2217) and women (n 2493) aged 25 to 74 years.
In the age- and energy-adjusted model, adherence to the diet was associated with a higher intake of carbohydrates (E%), and lower intakes of SFA (E%) and alcohol (E%, where E% is percentage of total energy intake; P
Cholesterol-lowering drugs may metabolically interact with cholesterol-lowering bread spreads. This study analyses the prevalence of use of drugs, bread spreads or the combination of both in people aware of their high/elevated cholesterol level, and compares users of the three therapies on health behavior and demographics.
Participants (9581, 25-74 years) from The National FINRISK 2002 Study filled out a questionnaire on demographics and health (related) issues. Blood samples, blood pressure, body weight and height were measured.
Of those who reported to have a high cholesterol level (31% of the study population), 19% used cholesterol-lowering drugs, 11% used cholesterol-lowering bread spreads and 5% combined both therapies. On a population level, only 1% jointly used a drug and bread spread therapy. The combination was used by especially highly educated people and those having a healthy diet.
Combining a cholesterol-lowering drug with a bread spread regimen is relatively rare, even among those being aware of their high cholesterol levels. The combined usage was most frequent among 'the better off'. Public health risks of a metabolic interaction between both therapies may not be of major importance yet, but future follow-up is recommended.
The aim of the present study was to compare the lifestyle (leisure-time physical activity, smoking habits and alcohol consumption) and dietary (energy-yielding nutrients, dietary fibre and foods) factors of Finns with a new syndrome called normal-weight obesity (NWO) with those of lean and overweight Finns. The representative population-based study included 4786 participants (25-74 years) from the National FINRISK 2007 Study with a health examination and questionnaires. Food intake was assessed using a validated FFQ. NWO was defined to include those with a normal BMI (
The aim of the study was to examine the association of childhood circumstances with overweight and obesity in early adulthood, to analyse whether the respondent's education and current circumstances mediate these associations, and to explore whether the respondent's health behaviour affects these associations.
This was a cross-sectional study with retrospective inquiries.
The study was based on a representative two-stage cluster sample (N= 1894, participation rate 79%) of young adults aged 18-29 years in Finland in 2000. The outcome measure was three-class body mass index (BMI) (normal weight, overweight, and obesity). Multinomial logistic regression was used as the main statistical tool.
In women, childhood circumstances (low parental education (relative risk ratio (RRR) = 2.43), parental unemployment (RRR= 2.09) and single-parent family (RRR= 1.99)) increased the risk of overweight (25 or = 30) in women in the age-adjusted models, and being bullied at school remained a significant predictor after adjusting for all childhood and current determinants. In both genders, the strong association between parental education and obesity remained significant after adjusting for all other determinants (for the lowest educational category, RRR= 3.56 in women, and RRR= 6.55 in men).
Childhood factors predict overweight and obesity in early adulthood. This effect is stronger on obesity than on overweight and in women than in men, and it seems to be partly mediated by adult circumstances. The results emphasize the lasting effect of childhood socioeconomic position on adult obesity. When preventive policies are being planned, social circumstances in childhood should be addressed.
In Finland, all men are liable to military service and a clear majority completes service. The increasing prevalence of obesity also among soldiers concerns conscripts' food choices. Conscripts are served nutritionally planned regular main meals but individual choices take place in free-time eating. This study assesses the effects in conscripts' eating habits in an intervention targeting the supply of healthy foods available in the military setting.
Participants were 604 18-21-year old male conscripts of whom 242 belonged to Control Group and 362 to Intervention Group. Participants of Control Group were historical controls performing military service one year before Intervention Group. The intervention targeted selection, placement, and attractiveness of healthy foods in garrison refectories and soldier's home cafeterias, the two main food providers in the military. Dietary intake data was collected by self-administered questionnaire at three time points: before/beginning of military service (T0), 8 weeks (T1) and 6 months (T2) of military service. Outcome measures were food consumption frequencies and four dietary indexes (Cereal Index, Fruit and Vegetable Index, Fat Index and Sugar Index) developed to characterize the diet. Changes between study groups in outcome variables and in time were analysed by repeated-measures analysis of covariance.
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