To identify the dietary, lifestyle and socio-economic factors associated with the intake of whole grains (WG) in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
A cross-sectional study.
Subsample of the Scandinavian cohort 'HELGA' consisting of three prospective cohorts: The Norwegian Women and Cancer Study; The Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study; and the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study.
A total of 8702 men and women aged 30-65 years. Dietary data are from one 24 h dietary recall and data on socio-economic status and lifestyle factors including anthropometric values are from the baseline collection of data.
Vegetables, fruits, dairy products, fish and shellfish, coffee, tea and margarine were directly associated with the intake of WG, whereas red meat, white bread, alcohol and cakes and biscuits were inversely associated. Smoking and BMI were consistently inversely associated with the intake of WG. Furthermore, length of education was directly associated with the intake of WG among women.
The intake of WG was found to be directly associated with healthy diet, lifestyle and socio-economic factors and inversely associated with less healthy factors, suggesting that these factors are important for consideration as potential confounders when studying WG intake and disease associations.