One of the recent phenomena in contemporary discussion of eating is 'functional foods', i.e. foods marketed as promoting health or reducing the risk of disease. This article analyses lay understandings of health-promoting foods in Finland by examining the ways in which middle-aged health-oriented consumers make sense of functional foods in the context of healthy eating. The article is based on an analysis of eight focus group discussions held with 45 users and non-users of cholesterol-lowering products as specific type of functional foods. The findings indicate that consumers interpret functional foods and healthy eating from a variety of perspectives. These perspectives include (1) focus on the whole diet, (2) distinguishing between healthy foods and functional foods, (3) the dilemma of eating for health or for pleasure, (4) healthfulness as an 'individual' issue and finally, (5) the duality of risk in the context of functional foods. The diversity of perspectives illustrates the ways that interpretations of functional foods and healthy eating are entangled with notions of uncertainties relating to scientific knowledge, moral undertones governing what is defined as acceptable eating and the symbolic significance of food as an inextricably social matter.
INTRODUCTION: Mediterranean countries such as Greece have experienced rapid social change in the last decade. These community changes affect nutritional habits and there is a tendency for the traditional healthy Mediterranean diet to be abandoned. METHODS: The parents of children from one rural Greek village on Crete (Neapolis), and one rural village in Sweden (Kisa) were invited to their primary health care centers for an interview and to fill in a validated nutrition questionnaire, KidMed. RESULTS: There were no differences (p = 0.48) in total KidMed score between the Cretan and Swedish children, adjusted for gender and age. However, there were some significant differences in scores on certain KidMed questions. Parents of the Cretan children reported significantly higher daily use of olive oil at home and more regular nut consumption, but also more commercially baked goods or pastries for breakfast. The parents of Swedish children reported significantly higher use of cereals, grains or bread for breakfast. The mean BMIs were similar for the Cretan (Neapolis mean 16.8, 95% CI 13.5-23.0) and for the Swedish children (Kisa mean 17.4, 95% CI 13.7-25.5) CONCLUSION: The results suggest the possibility of changing nutritional habits, measurable among young children in rural areas. The study raises the question of whether Cretan children may have abandoned some aspects of the traditional Mediterranean diet. It may also be that Swedish children have changed their diet in favor of a more Mediterranean food choice. The major limitation of the study is the small sample size, and further, larger studies are warranted.
Recent evidence suggests a role for diet quality in the common mental disorders depression and anxiety. We aimed to investigate the association between diet quality, dietary patterns, and the common mental disorders in Norwegian adults.
This cross-sectional study included 5731 population-based men and women aged 46 to 49 and 70 to 74 years. Habitual diet was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire, and mental health was measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.
After adjustments for variables including age, education, income, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption, an a priori healthy diet quality score was inversely related to depression (odds ratio [OR] = 0.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.59-0.84) and anxiety (OR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.68-0.87) in women and to depression (OR = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.70-0.99) in men. Women scoring higher on a healthy dietary pattern were less likely to be depressed (OR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.57-0.82) or anxious (OR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.77-0.98), whereas men were more likely to be anxious (OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.03-1.38). A traditional Norwegian dietary pattern was also associated with reduced depression in women (OR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.64-0.92) and anxiety in men (OR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.61-0.96). A western-type diet was associated with increased anxiety in men (OR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.14-1.42) and women (OR = 1.29, 95% CI = 1.17-1.43) before final adjustment for energy intake.
In this study, those with better quality diets were less likely to be depressed, whereas a higher intake of processed and unhealthy foods was associated with increased anxiety.
Occupational psychosocial stress has been identified as a risk factor for obesity, whereas dietary habits have a key role in weight control. We examined whether dietary habits modify the association between occupational psychosocial factors and waist circumference.
Data comprised 31-year-old men (n=2222) and women (n=2053) in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. Waist circumference was measured and data on occupational psychosocial factors (demands, control and social support) and other characteristics were obtained through questionnaires. Healthy and unhealthy diet indices were constructed according to the current dietary guidelines. Associations were examined using analysis of variance adjusted for body mass index at age 14, basic education level, leisure-time physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking, stress-related eating behaviour and parity.
Among men, high job demands and high job control were associated with greater waist circumferences, and there were interactions between unhealthy diet and job demands (P=0.043) and job control (P=0.036) in relation to waist circumference. The waist of men with high demands or high control and low consumption of unhealthy foods (red/processed meat, hamburgers and pizzas, fried potatoes, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and white bread) was smaller than that of men with high demands or high control and high consumption of such foods. No associations were found among women.
A diet based on the current dietary guidelines seems to cancel out the adverse effects of occupational psychosocial factors on waist circumference among young men. Longitudinal studies are needed to assess the risks for obesity-related diseases arising from psychosocial work environments and dietary habits.
To examine whether dietary patterns are associated with obesity phenotypes.
We recruited 664 participants aged between 18 and 55 years. Dietary data were collected from a food frequency questionnaire. A factor analysis was performed to derive dietary patterns. Body mass index (BMI), weight and waist girth were recorded using standard procedures. Fat mass and fat-free mass were assessed by electrical bioimpedance. Obesity was defined as having a BMI> or =30 kg m(-2) and a positive FHO (FHO+) as having at least one obese first-degree relative.
Two dietary patterns were identified; Western and Prudent. The Western pattern was mainly characterized by a higher consumption of refined grains, French fries, red meats, condiments, processed meats and regular soft drinks whereas the Prudent pattern was mainly characterized by a higher consumption of non-hydrogenated fat, vegetables, eggs and fish and seafood. Subjects in the top tertile of the Western pattern had higher BMI, weight, waist girth, waist-to-hip ratio and fat mass than those in the lower tertile. In contrast, subjects in the top tertile of the Prudent pattern had lower BMI, weight, waist girth, fat mass, HDL-cholesterol levels, and lower triglyceride levels than those in the lowest tertile. Individuals in the upper tertile of the Western pattern were more likely to be obese (obesity was defined as having a BMI> or =30 kg m(-2)) (OR=1.82, 95% CI 1.16-2.87) whereas those in the upper tertile of the Prudent pattern were less likely to be obese (OR=0.62, 95% CI 0.40-0.96). These latter significant associations were only observed among those with FHO+. No such association was observed among FHO- individuals.
Individuals having a high score of Western pattern were more likely to be obese and those having a high score of the Prudent pattern were less likely to be obese, and this is particularly among individuals with an FHO+.
This study examines the relationship between family-work conflicts with food habits and physical activity, and whether the relationship is dependent on family structure and work-related factors.
Cross-sectional postal surveys were carried out in 2001 and 2002 among employees of the City of Helsinki, Finland, aged 40-60 years (n = 5346, response rate 66%; for women 70% and for men 60%). Dependent variables in logistic regression analyses were nationally recommended food habits and physical activity. Independent variables were work-family conflicts and family-work conflicts. Covariates included age, marital status, number of children, occupational class, working hours, time travelling to work, and physical and mental work load.
Women reporting strong work-family conflicts were more likely to follow recommended food habits (odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals 1.49 (1.19-1.86)), but this relationship weakened when adjusting for work-related factors (OR 1.20 (0.93-1.55)). Women and men with strong family-work conflicts were less likely to report recommended food habits after adjusting for family structure and work-related factors (women OR 0.75 (0.61-0.92), men OR 0.57 (0.34-0.96)). Women and men with strong work-family conflicts were less likely to follow the recommended amount of physical activity (women OR 0.76 (0.60-0.96), men OR 0.54 (0.34-0.87)). Additionally, women with strong family-work conflicts were less likely to follow the recommended amount of physical activity (OR 0.77 (0.63-0.94)). Adjusting for family and work-related factors did not affect these associations.
Conflicts between paid work and family life are likely to constitute barriers for a physically active lifestyle and possibly also for healthy food habits. Improving the balance between work and family may provide a route for promoting health-related behaviours.
The aim of this study was to explore the concept of disgust in relation to meat and meat-eating. A sample of 30 high school students (aged 16 to 17 years), 10 urban females, 10 rural females, and 10 rural males, participated in the study. The participants' attitudes towards meat and meat-eating were investigated through interviews of a semi-structured nature and a short, confidential questionnaire. The study showed that disgust was solely related to red meat varieties and not to chicken. There were no vegetarians in our consumer sample, but red meat-eating was more common among males than females. Sensory attributes that were drivers of liking for meat were good taste, good smell and juiciness; these were described by both genders. All the females tended to characterise meat and meat-eating experiences negatively. Their associations were based on disgust, rather than distaste as found among males. Offensive attributes that the females attributed to meat were linked to the animals and their body parts, blood and raw meat, fibrous and chewy texture, fatty feeling in the mouth, and visible fat. Subjects with regular contact with farm animals displayed more relaxed attitudes towards animal production and showed no such disgust reactions. Females also tended to associate meat with "heavy" food that had negative impact on their bodies. They were also less content with their body appearance, dieted more than males, and tended to associate health (in the sense of fat consumption) and food intake to the wish for slim bodies.
The aim of the study was to examine how young adults in Finland perceive barriers to climate-friendly food choices and how these barriers are associated with their choices. The participants were 350 university students of the social and behavioral sciences who completed a questionnaire during class. The study found that the barriers the participants perceived as being the most relevant were different from those that were associated with the omission of climate-friendly food choices. High prices were perceived as the most relevant barrier, but were only weakly associated with the participants' food choices. Instead, habit and disbelief in the effects of food consumption on the climate were found to be the barriers that had the greatest association with climate-friendly choices. Moreover, women considered high prices and poor supply more important compared to men, whereas men considered disbelief and habit more important. In addition, vegetarians perceived fewer barriers than those who followed other diets. The findings increase our understanding of young adults' perceptions of barriers to climate-friendly food choices, as well as their effects.
Adolescence may be a crucial period for developing obesity and associated mental health problems. This study examined the relationship of weight status on body image, eating behavior, and depressive symptoms in youth.
A survey was conducted on 1490 youth attending grades 7-12. Participants completed questionnaires on body image, eating behavior, and mood and were measured for height and weight to calculate body mass index (BMI). Weight classification was based on the International Obesity Task Force guidelines, whereby youth at or above the 95th BMI percentile for age and sex were classified as obese, those between 85th and 94th BMI percentile as overweight, and those between 5th and 84th BMI percentile as normal weight. Several multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVAs) were conducted to examine these relationships.
Clear relationships emerged between body image and weight classification. Obese youth reported higher body dissatisfaction than overweight youth, who reported more body dissatisfaction than normal weight youth. These effects were independent of age and gender. A relationship was also found for dietary restraint and weight status whereby higher restraint scores were associated with greater adiposity. Similarly, obese youth reported greater depressive symptoms, including anhedonia, negative self-esteem, and higher overall depression scores compared with overweight and normal-weight youth.
Psychopathology in obese youth is well known in clinical samples but this study suggests that obese youth in the community may be at increased risk of developing body dissatisfaction, dietary restraint, and depressive symptoms compared with overweight or normal weight youth.
The purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence of breastfeeding in women with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and eating disorders not otherwise specified - purging subtype, with mothers with no eating disorders during the first 6 months after birth. The study is based on the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study conducted at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Questionnaire-based information on eating disorder diagnoses and breastfeeding in 39?355 women was used to estimate the risk of cessation of breastfeeding with Cox proportional hazards regression. Almost all women (98%) initially breastfeed their infants, with no statistically significant difference between the eating disorders subgroups and women with no eating disorders. However, the risk of early cessation before 6 months post-partum increased for all subgroups of mothers with eating disorders, compared with mothers with no eating disorders. After adjusting for maternal body mass index, age, education, birthweight and pre-term birth, only mothers with anorexia nervosa [hazard ratios (HR), 2.35; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.22-4.53] and eating disorder not otherwise specified-purging subtype (HR, 1.95; 95% CI 1.08-3.53) had increased risk for cessation of breastfeeding There were no differences in the risk of cessation of exclusive breastfeeding. These results show that some eating disorders may influence mothers' early feeding practices and indicate that additional support may be necessary to assist women with anorexia nervosa in maintaining breastfeeding.