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Disparities in food habits in Europe: systematic review of educational and occupational differences in the intake of fat

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Abstract Background 

A higher socio-economic level is associated with healthier dietary habits. Nevertheless, socio-economic differences in the intake of fat have not consistently been reported in Europe. The objective of our study was to systematically assess differences in total fat (TF) intake and saturated fat (SF) intake across social groups. Methods 

Representative samples from nine European countries were used to perform a meta-analysis of surveys between 1985–1999, including both published and nonpublished results. Results 

Because important heterogeneity was found and the estimates for TF from Spain and Estonia were different from all others, we calculated the differences in intake excluding these two countries. We found a lower TF intake in the highest (versus the lowest) occupational level both for men (difference: −1.1% of total energy intake; 95% CI: −1.3 to −0.8%) and women (difference: −0.9%; 95% CI: −1.2 to −0.6%) when Estonia and Spain were excluded. Conclusion 

European surveys indicate that people in the lowest category of occupation consume more fat and SF than people in the highest category.
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Keywords: Europe; dietary fat; disparities; meta-analysis; social status

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain 2: National Council on Nutrition and Physical Activity, Oslo, Norway 3: Kaunas University of Medicine, Institute for Biomedical Research, Department of Preventive Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania 4: National Public Health Institute, Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: 2003-10-01

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