The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between meal pattern and diet. Nutrient contents of meals, snacks and other eating occasions were compared and differences in dietary intake analysed between respondents following a conventional meal pattern and others. A random sample of 1861 adults aged 25-64 from four regions of Finland completed a mailed questionnaire and 3-day food record in the spring of 1992. A conventional meal pattern was defined on the basis of national dietary guidelines as including breakfast, warm lunch and warm dinner, and subjects were identified with the help of the questionnaire. Meals and snacks were defined according to the respondents subjective criteria. Forty-four percent of all respondents followed the conventional meal pattern. Meal pattern has no effect on nutrient intake in men and small effects in women. Women following the conventional meal pattern had higher energy and cholesterol intake and lower alcohol and vitamin C intake than other women. Meals contributed to energy, protein and fat intake, and snacks to sugar and alcohol. Meal pattern had only a small effect on diet and conventional meal pattern cannot be considered healthier than other meal patterns.
Studies from different time periods have shown that consumption of vegetables is more common in higher socioeconomic groups and among women. However, there are only few studies of changes of socioeconomic differences in vegetable consumption over time. Our aim was to determine whether socioeconomic differences, measured by educational level and household income, in daily vegetable consumption have increased, decreased or been stable over the last two decades among Finnish men and women.
Data on daily consumption of fresh vegetables were derived from repeated annual cross-sectional surveys performed among representative samples of Finnish working aged (15-64 years) population. Data from the years 1979-2002 were linked with data on education and household income from Statistics Finland. Those under 25 years and all students were excluded, giving a total of 69 383 respondents. The main analyses were conducted with logistic regression.
Daily consumption of fresh vegetables became overall more prevalent during the study period. Daily consumption of fresh vegetables was more common among those with higher education and higher income during the whole study period. Both educational level and household income differences in daily vegetable consumption slightly narrowed since 1979 among men and women.
Women with high socioeconomic position have been initial trend setters, but the prevalence of daily consumers of vegetables in these groups has not increased since the early 1990s. The prevalence of daily consumption of fresh vegetables has increased more in lower educational and income groups during the 1980s and 1990s along with narrowing socioeconomic differences.
This study examines social structural and family status factors as determinants of food behaviour. The data were derived from the FINMONICA Risk Factor Survey, collected in Finland in spring 1992. A multidimensional framework of the determinants of food behaviour was used, including social structural position, family status and gender. The associations between the determinants of food behaviour were estimated by multivariate logistic regression models, adjusted for age and regional differences. Food behaviour was measured by an index including six food items which were chosen based on Finnish dietary guidelines. In general, women's food behaviour was more in accordance with the dietary guidelines than that of men. The pattern of association between educational level and food behaviour was similar for both genders, but slightly stronger for men than women. Employment status was associated only with women's food behaviour, but the tendency was the same for men. Marital status was associated with men's as well as women's food behaviour. The food behaviour of married men and women was more in line with the dietary guidelines than the food behaviour of those who had been previously married. Parental status, however, was only associated with women's food behaviour, that is, the food behaviour of women with young children was more closely in line with the dietary guidelines than that of the rest of the women.
To examine associations between seven indicators of socio-economic circumstances and healthy food habits, while taking into account assumed temporal order between these socio-economic indicators.
Data were derived from cross-sectional postal questionnaires in 2000-2002. Socio-economic circumstances were assessed by parental education, childhood economic difficulties, own education, occupational class, household income, home ownership and current economic difficulties. Healthy food habits were measured by an index consisting of consumption of fresh vegetables, fruit or berries, rye bread, fish and choosing vegetable fats on bread and oil in cooking. Sequential logistic regression models were used, adjusting for age and marital status.
Employees of the City of Helsinki, Finland (n=8960, aged 40-60 years).
Healthy food habits were reported by 28% of women and by 17% of men. Own education, occupational class, household income, home ownership and current economic difficulties were associated with healthy food habits. These associations were attenuated but mainly remained after mutual adjustments for the socio-economic indicators. Among women, a pathway was found suggesting that part of the effects of education on food habits were mediated through occupational class.
Employees in higher and lower socio-economic positions differ in their food habits, and those in lower positions and economically disadvantaged are less likely to report healthy food habits. Health promotion programmes and food policies should encourage healthier food choices among those in lower socio-economic positions and among those with economic difficulties in particular.