Food habits vary by socio-economic group and geographic area. Data on socio-economic differences in food habits and in serum total cholesterol concentration from Russia are scarce. Our aim was to examine changes and educational differences in serum total cholesterol and in the consumption of major sources of saturated fat in two geographically neighbouring areas, Russian and Finnish Karelia, and to examine whether the foods associated with serum total cholesterol are different in the two areas.
Data from cross-sectional risk factor surveys from years 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007 in the district of PitkÃ¤ranta, the Republic of Karelia, Russia (n = 2672), and North Karelia, Finland (n = 5437), were used. The analyses included two phases. 1) To examine the differences in cholesterol by education, the means and 95% confidence intervals for education groups were calculated for each study year. 2) Multivariate linear regression analysis was employed to examine the role of butter in cooking, butter on bread, fat-containing milk and cheese in explaining serum total cholesterol. In these analyses, the data for all four study years were combined.
In PitkÃ¤ranta, serum total cholesterol fluctuated during the study period (1992-2007), whereas in North Karelia cholesterol levels declined consistently. No apparent differences in cholesterol levels by education were observed in PitkÃ¤ranta. In North Karelia, cholesterol was lower among subjects in the highest education tertile compared to the lowest education tertile in 1992 and 2002. In PitkÃ¤ranta, consumption of fat-containing milk was most strongly associated with cholesterol (Ã?=0.19, 95% CI 0.10, 0.28) adjusted for sex, age, education and study year. In North Karelia, using butter in cooking (Ã?=0.09, 95% CI 0.04, 0.15) and using butter on bread (Ã?=0.09, 95% CI 0.02, 0.15) had a significant positive association with cholesterol.
In the two geographically neighbouring areas, the key foods influencing serum cholesterol levels varied considerably. Assessment and regular monitoring of food habits are essential to plan nutrition education messages that are individually tailored for the target area and time.
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To examine educational differences among people who consume foods containing fat in Finland and the Baltic countries.
Data were collected from cross-sectional postal Finbalt Health Monitor surveys that were carried out in 1998, 2000 and 2002.
Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.
For each survey, nationally representative random samples of adults aged 20-64 years were drawn from population registers (Estonia, n = 3656; Finland, n = 9354, Latvia, n = 6015; Lithuania, n = 5944).
Differences were revealed between the countries in the consumption of foods that contain fat. Finnish people consumed butter on bread, high-fat milk, meat and meat products, and vegetable oil for cooking less frequently than people in the Baltic countries. Cheese was most popular in Finland. Educational differences in fat-related food habits were examined by applying logistic regression analysis. A positive association was found between level of education and consumption of vegetable oil used in food preparation. Drinking high-fat milk was associated with low education in all countries. People with higher education tended to consume cheese more often. Educational patterns in the consumption of butter on bread and in the consumption of meat and meat products differed between countries.
The consumption of foods containing fat was related to educational levels in all four countries. The diet of better-educated people was closer to recommendations for the consumption of saturated and unsaturated fats than the diet of people with lower level of education. The educational gradient was more consistent in Finland than in the Baltic countries. These existing educational differences in sources of fat consumed should be taken into account in the development of national cardiovascular disease prevention programmes.
Finland is known for a sharp decrease in the intake of saturated fat and cardiovascular mortality. Since 2000, however, the consumption of butter-containing spreads - an important source of saturated fats - has increased. We examined social and health-related predictors of the increase among Finnish men and women.
An 11-year population follow-up.
A representative random sample of adult Finns, invited to a health survey in 2000.
Altogether 5414 persons aged 30-64 years at baseline in 2000 were re-invited in 2011. Of men 1529 (59 %) and of women 1853 (66 %) answered the questions on bread spreads at both time points. Respondents reported the use of bread spreads by choosing one of the following alternatives: no fat, soft margarine, butter-vegetable oil mixture and butter, which were later categorized into margarine/no spread and butter/butter-vegetable oil mixture (= butter). The predictors included gender, age, marital status, education, employment status, place of residence, health behaviours, BMI and health. Multinomial regression models were fitted.
Of the 2582 baseline margarine/no spread users, 24.6% shifted to butter. Only a few of the baseline sociodemographic or health-related determinants predicted the change. Finnish women were more likely to change to butter than men. Living with a spouse predicted the change among men.
The change from margarine to butter between 2000 and 2011 seemed not to be a matter of compliance with official nutrition recommendations. Further longitudinal studies on social, behavioural and motivational predictors of dietary changes are needed.
Women's diets are healthier than men's. Finnish women eat more fruits and vegetables but less meat than men. Gender differences may be larger in the Baltic countries, which represent Eastern European transition societies than in Finland, a society characterized by the Scandinavian welfare ideology and a high degree of gender equality.
The data are based on questionnaires to random samples of adults in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The data provide a way of addressing gender differences at the turn of the century in the economically and culturally different countries. The purpose is to explore whether the consumption of foods classified as masculine or feminine-meat, fruits and vegetables-follow a similar gender pattern in Finland and the Baltic countries.
Men ate meat more often while women ate fruits and vegetables. A high educational level was associated with frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables. Educational differences in the consumption of meat were few and inconsistent. The consumption of fruits and vegetables was more common in urban areas except in Finland. Gender differences were similar in all countries throughout age and educational groups and in rural and urban areas.
The consistent association of gender and food and the similarity of gender patterning in population subgroups point to the stability of masculine versus feminine food habits. The similarity suggests that food habits contribute equally to the gender gap in health in the Baltic countries as they do in Finland.
After the Second World War, the population living in the Karelian region was strictly divided by the "iron curtain" between Finland and Russia. This resulted in different lifestyle, standard of living, and exposure to the environment. Allergic manifestations and sensitization to common allergens have been much more common on the Finnish compared to the Russian side.
The remarkable allergy disparity in the Finnish and Russian Karelia calls for immunological explanations.
Young people, aged 15-20 years, in the Finnish (n = 69) and Russian (n = 75) Karelia were studied. The impact of genetic variation on the phenotype was studied by a genome-wide association analysis. Differences in gene expression (transcriptome) were explored from the blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and related to skin and nasal epithelium microbiota and sensitization.
The genotype differences between the Finnish and Russian populations did not explain the allergy gap. The network of gene expression and skin and nasal microbiota was richer and more diverse in the Russian subjects. When the function of 261 differentially expressed genes was explored, innate immunity pathways were suppressed among Russians compared to Finns. Differences in the gene expression paralleled the microbiota disparity. High Acinetobacter abundance in Russians correlated with suppression of innate immune response. High-total IgE was associated with enhanced anti-viral response in the Finnish but not in the Russian subjects.
Young populations living in the Finnish and Russian Karelia show marked differences in genome-wide gene expression and host contrasting skin and nasal epithelium microbiota. The rich gene-microbe network in Russians seems to result in a better-balanced innate immunity and associates with low allergy prevalence.
Understanding on sociodemographic variation of the co-occurrence of cardiovascular disease risk factors is crucial for planning future prevention strategies. We aimed at examining (1) the co-occurrence of smoking, obesity, hypertension and elevated serum cholesterol by education and marital status, and (2) its trends in different sociodemographic groups in Finland. We used data from cross-sectional health examination surveys among the general population (25-64 years): for 1997-2012 the National FINRISK Study and for 2017 the FinHealth 2017 Survey (n?=?25036). A risk factor accumulation score with categories (1) zero, (2) one, (3) two, and (4) three or four elevated risk factors was the outcome in multinomial logistic regression. The risk factor score was more favourable among women, among high education groups, and slightly among participants living with a spouse. Among men, the lowest risk factor score class became more prevalent especially in the intermediate education group, which approached the highest education group over time. Our results indicate an overall transition towards a more favourable risk factor distribution. However, risk factor accumulation among the least educated remained emphasizing the need to develop and implement more targeted prevention interventions and public health policies to decrease the risk factor burden particularly in this group.
The composition of human microbiota is affected by a multitude of factors. Understanding the dynamics of our microbial communities is important for promoting human health because microbiota has a crucial role in the development of inflammatory diseases, such as allergies. We have studied the skin microbiota of both arms in 275 Finnish children of few months old to teenagers living in contrasting environments. We show that while age is a major factor affecting skin microbial composition, the living environment also discriminates the skin microbiota of rural and urban children. The effect of environment is age-specific; it is most prominent in toddlers but weaker for newborns and non-existent for teenagers. Within-individual variation is also related to age and environment. Surprisingly, variation between arms is smaller in rural subjects in all age groups, except in teenagers. We also collected serum samples from children for characterization of allergic sensitization and found a weak, but significant association between allergic sensitization and microbial composition. We suggest that physiological and behavioral changes, related to age and the amount of contact with environmental microbiota, jointly influence the dynamics of the skin microbiota, and explain why the association between the living environment skin microbiota is lost in teenager.
Atopic allergy has been more common among schoolchildren in Finland, as compared to Russian Karelia. These adjacent regions show one of the most contrasting socio-economically differences in the world.
We explored changes in allergy from school age to young adulthood from 2003 to 2010/2012 in these two areas. The skin and nasal microbiota were also compared.
Randomly selected children from Finnish (n = 98) and Russian Karelia (n = 82) were examined in 2003, when the children were 7-11 years of age, and again in 2010 (Finnish Karelia) and 2012 (Russian Karelia). We analysed self-reported allergy symptoms and sensitization to common allergens by serum sIgE values. The skin (volar forearm) and nasal mucosa microbiota, collected in 2012 (age 15-20 yrs), identified from DNA samples, were compared with multivariate methods.
Asthma, hay-fever, atopic eczema, self-reported rhinitis, as well as atopic sensitization, were 3-10 fold more common in Finland, as compared to Russian Karelia. Hay-fever and peanut sensitization were almost non-existent in Russia. These patterns remained throughout the 10-year follow-up. Skin microbiota, as well as bacterial and fungal communities in nasal mucosa was contrastingly different between the populations, best characterised by the diversity and abundance of genus Acinetobacter; more abundant and diverse in Russia. Overall, diversity was significantly higher among Russian subjects (Pskin
Food habits and their socio-economic differences in Russia have rarely been compared to those in western countries. Our aim was to determine socio-economic differences and their changes in the consumption of vegetables, fruit and berries in two neighbouring areas: the district of Pitkäranta in the Republic of Karelia, Russia, and North Karelia, Finland.
Cross-sectional risk factor surveys in Pitkäranta, in 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007 (1144 men, 1528 women) and in North Karelia, in 1992, 1997 and 2002 (2049 men, 2316 women), were carried out. Data collected with a self-administered questionnaire were analysed with logistic regression.
The consumption of fruit and vegetables was more common in North Karelia than in Pitkäranta, but increased markedly in Pitkäranta from 1992 to 2007. In Pitkäranta, women, and in North Karelia both men and women with higher education ate fresh vegetables more often than those with a lower education. In both areas, daily consumption of fruit tended to be more common among subjects with a higher education. In Pitkäranta, there were virtually no differences by employment status. In North Karelia, vegetable consumption was less common among the unemployed than the employed subjects. Only minor socio-economic differences in berry consumption were observed. The educational differences in vegetable consumption seemed to widen in Pitkäranta and narrow in North Karelia.
A converging trend was observed, with the Russian consumption levels and socio-economic differences starting to approach those observed in Finland. This may be partly explained by the improvements in availability and affordability of fruit and vegetables in Pitkäranta.
To determine socio-economic differences from 1994 to 2004 in the use of butter and milk in Pitkäranta in the Republic of Karelia, Russia and North Karelia, Finland.
Health behaviour surveys in Pitkäranta (n = 3,599) and North Karelia (n = 3,652) in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2004.
A clear overall decrease occurred in the use of butter in cooking in Pitkäranta from 1994 to 2004. In both areas, subjects with lower education used butter in cooking and drank fat-containing milk more often. Regarding butter on bread, the educational patterns in the two areas were opposite: in Pitkäranta, subjects with lower education used butter less often but in North Karelia, they used butter on bread more often. Practically, no changes in socio-economic differences from 1994 to 2004 were observed in either area.
The socio-economic differences in the use of dairy fat were stable in both areas but larger in North Karelia than in Pitkäranta. Our results support earlier assumptions of a weaker role of education as a determinant of health in Russia than in the western societies.