Latest Research on Dietary Habits : Mar 2022

Trends of Dietary Habits in Adolescents

Lifestyle plays an important role in the development of obesity during childhood and adolescence. We provide up-to-date information about the relationship between obesity and food intake and dietary patterns in adolescents. Scientific evidence is increasing about the dietary factors associated with this relationship, specifically a low meal frequency, skipping breakfast, and a high consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. Maybe some of the reviewed dietary factors could cluster in the same population of adolescents, increasing the individual risk. There is little information about dietary patterns and current time trends in adolescents; however, the available data seem to show that the tendency in the adolescent population worldwide is to increase those dietary factors related with obesity development. Public health efforts should be emphasized in order to decrease the current tendency. Regular family meals could serve as role models for healthy eating behaviors. Educational intervention programs for parents, aiming to modify the healthfulness of the diet, seems to be one of the most adequate tools to deal with the worldwide obesity epidemic.[1]

Changing dietary habits of ethnic groups in Europe and implications for health

A systematic review of the literature suggests the dietary habits of some ethnic groups living in Europe are likely to become less healthy as individuals increase consumption of processed foods that are energy dense and contain high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Such products often replace healthy dietary components of the native diet, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. Mixed food habits are emerging mainly amongst younger people in the second and third generations, most likely due to acculturation and adoption of a Western lifestyle. Age and immigrant generation are the major factors accounting for changes in dietary habits, whilst income, level of education, dietary laws, religion, and food beliefs are also important factors. Obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension present major problems for the mainstream European population. However, the risk of chronic disease is reported to be higher in ethnic populations, particularly South Asians, African Caribbeans, and Mexicans.[2]

Healthy dietary habits in relation to social determinants and lifestyle factors

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the importance of social status and lifestyle for dietary habits, since these factors may influence life expectancy. We studied the association of four indicators for healthy dietary habits (fruits and vegetables, fibre, fat and Hegsted score) with sex, age, socio-economic status, education, physical leisure exercise, smoking and personal attention paid to keeping a healthy diet. Data were gathered with a self-administered quantitative food-frequency questionnaire distributed to a representative sample of Norwegian men and women aged 16–79 years in a national dietary survey, of whom 3144 subjects (63%) responded. Age and female sex were positively associated with indicators for healthy dietary habits. By separate evaluation length of education, regular physical leisure exercise and degree of attention paid to keeping a healthy diet were positively associated with all four indicators for healthy dietary habits in both sexes. Socio-economic status, location of residence and smoking habits were associated with from one to three indicators for healthy dietary habits. In a multiple regression model, age, education and location of residence together explained from 1 to 9% of the variation (R2) in the four dietary indicators. Length of education was significantly associated with three of four dietary indicators both among men and women. By including the variable ‘attention paid to keeping a healthy diet’ in the model, R2 increased to between 4 and 15% for the four dietary indicators. Length of education remained correlated to three dietary indicators among women, and one indicator among men, after adjusting for attention to healthy diet, age and location of residence. Residence in cities remained correlated to two indicators among men, but none among women, after adjusting for age, education and attention to healthy diet. In conclusion, education was associated with indicators of a healthy diet. Attention to healthy diet showed the strongest and most consistent association with all four indicators for healthy dietary habits in both sexes. This suggests that personal preferences may be just as important for having a healthy diet as social status determinants.[3]

Social determinants of dietary habits in Denmark

Objective: To investigate whether there is an association between socioeconomic status and a healthy diet, taking the possible influence of other social variables such as age, gender, income and household composition into consideration.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Nationwide study in Denmark, 1995.

Subjects: Random sample from the civil registration system. A total of 852 men and 870 women aged 18-80 y participated, a response rate of 58%.

Interventions: A 7 day estimated dietary record was used to obtain information about the diet. Information about social background was gained through face-to-face interview.

Results: The intake of fruit and vegetables and the percentage energy (E%) from fat in the diet were significantly associated with the educational level of both men and women. For men with only basic schooling, the mean intake of vegetables and fat was 84 g/10 MJ and 41 E% respectively. Men with long higher education had a mean intake of 119 g/10 MJ of vegetables and 37 E% of fat. For women, the corresponding figures for the intake of vegetables and fat were 131 g/10 MJ and 38 E% and 175 g/10 MJ and 37 E%, respectively. For women, age, income and household composition were also significantly associated with the intake of fruit and vegetables. Conclusions: Education seems to be the most important social variable to explain social differences in dietary habits. Additional variables are needed to explain dietary habits of women. Differences are seen for both foods and nutrients.[4]

Optimal Dietary Habits for the Prevention of Stroke

Diet may influence stroke risk via several mechanisms, but the optimal dietary habits for stroke prevention are not well established. We reviewed English-language MEDLINE publications from January 1979 through November 2004 for experimental, observational, and clinical studies of dietary factors (minerals, fats, cholesterol, fish, animal protein, fiber, whole grains, carbohydrate quality, fruits and vegetables, antioxidants, B vitamins, dietary patterns) and risk of stroke or hypertension, the principal modifiable stroke risk factor. A total of 121 publications were selected based on relevance and quality of design and methods. Diets low in sodium and high in potassium lower blood pressure which will likely reduce stroke risk. Consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, folate, and fatty fish are each likely to reduce stroke risk. A prudent or traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern, which incorporates these individual dietary components as well as intake of legumes and olive oil, may also prevent stroke. Evidence is limited or inconsistent regarding optimal levels of dietary magnesium, calcium, antioxidants, total fat, other fat subtypes, cholesterol, carbohydrate quality, or animal protein for stroke prevention. A diet low in sodium, high in potassium, and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereal fiber, and fatty fish will likely reduce the incidence of stroke. Further research is needed regarding the possible effects of other major dietary factors on stroke risk.[5]


[1] Moreno, L.A., Rodriguez, G., Fleta, J., Bueno-Lozano, M., Lazaro, A. and Bueno, G., 2010. Trends of dietary habits in adolescents. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 50(2), pp.106-112.

[2] Gilbert, P.A. and Khokhar, S., 2008. Changing dietary habits of ethnic groups in Europe and implications for health. Nutrition reviews, 66(4), pp.203-215.

[3] Johansson, L., Thelle, D.S., Solvoll, K., Bjørneboe, G.E.A. and Drevon, C.A., 1999. Healthy dietary habits in relation to social determinants and lifestyle factors. British Journal of Nutrition, 81(3), pp.211-220.

[4] Groth, M.V., Fagt, S. and Brøndsted, L., 2001. Social determinants of dietary habits in Denmark. European journal of clinical nutrition, 55(11), pp.959-966.

[5] Ding, E.L. and Mozaffarian, D., 2006, March. Optimal dietary habits for the prevention of stroke. In Seminars in neurology (Vol. 26, No. 01, pp. 011-023). Copyright© 2006 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA..

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