Diet inequality prevails among consumers interested and knowledgeable in nutrition
Background: Previous studies have demonstrated a correlation between diet cost and adherence to nutritional recommendations among consumers in general. This has adverse effects on diet and health inequality. It could be hypothesized that consumers knowledgeable in nutrition escape this correlation.
Objective: Investigate whether the previously observed relationship between diet cost and nutritional quality prevails among consumers with an above-average interest in and knowledge of nutrition.
Design: Full open diet registrations of 330 students taking a basic university-level course in nutrition over a total of 780 days.
Results: The consumers with the highest daily average diet cost differ from the lowest cost quartile: The diets had higher micronutrient density, more fruits and vegetables, and lower energy density. The highest cost daily diet quartile had a significantly higher energy adjusted intake of the micronutrients that were on average consumed below the recommendation (vitamin D, folate, and iron for women). On the other hand, alcohol intake was significantly higher among the high diet cost group. The highest diet cost respondents consumed more fish, meat, coffee, and spreads, whereas the lowest diet cost respondents had a higher consumption of cereals, bread, jam, sausage, and milk.
Conclusions: Dietary differences prevail even in the above-average interested and knowledgeable group. The respondents did not use their higher level of knowledge to break this commonly observed relationship. This suggests that an increased minimum level of knowledge in nutrition may not by itself eliminate dietary inequality.
Keywords: diet cost; diet quality; energy density; micronutrient density; diet inequality; nutritional education
(Published: 23 November 2015)
Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2015, 59: 27601 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v59.27601
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to SNF Swedish Nutrition Foundation.