Five meal patterns are differently associated with nutrient intakes, lifestyle factors and energy misreporting in a sub-sample of the Malmö Diet and Cancer cohort
Objective: Examine how meal patterns are associated with nutrient intakes, lifestyle and socioeconomic
factors, and energy misreporting.
Design: A cross-sectional study within the Malmö Diet and Cancer (MDC) cohort. Participants reported on
the overall types and frequency of meals consumed, and completed a modified dietary history, a lifestyle and
socioeconomic questionnaire, and anthropometric measurements. Based on the reported intake of six
different meal types, meal pattern groups were distinguished using Ward’s cluster analysis. Associations
between meal patterns and nutrient intakes, anthropometric, lifestyle and socioeconomic variables were
examined using the x<sup>2</sup>-method and analysis of variance.
Subjects: A sub-sample of the MDC study cohort (n=28,098), consisting of 1,355 men and 1,654 women.
Results: Cluster analysis identified five groups of subjects with different meal patterns in both men and
women. These meal pattern groups differed regarding nutrient intakes, lifestyle and socioeconomic factors.
Subjects reporting frequent coffee meals were more likely to report an ‘unhealthy’ lifestyle, e.g. smoking, high
alcohol consumption and low physical activity, while those with a fruit pattern reported a more ‘healthy’
lifestyle. Women were more likely to underreport their energy intake than men, and the degree of
underreporting varied between the meal pattern groups.
Conclusions: The meal pattern groups showed significant differences in dietary quality and socioeconomic
and lifestyle variables. This supports previous research suggesting that diet is part of a multifaceted
phenomenon. Incorporation of aspects on how foods are combined and eaten into public health advices
might improve their efficiency.
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