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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;60(2):181-90.

Dietary patterns and their socio-demographic determinants in 10 European countries: data from the DAFNE databank.

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  • 1Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece.



To describe the dietary patterns of 10 European countries and their socio-demographic determinants, using the comparable between-countries DAFNE data.


Analysis of standardized and postharmonized data collected through the national household budget surveys.


Nationally representative surveys undertaken in 10 European countries, generally in the second half of the 1990s.


The differences in the fruit and vegetable consumption previously identified between Mediterranean and Northern European countries seem to be leveling out, particularly in relation to fruit consumption. Pulses, however, still characterize the diet of the Mediterraneans. Straying from their traditional food choices, Mediterraneans recorded high availability of unprocessed red meat, while Central and Northern Europeans preferably consumed meat products. The household availability of beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) is generally higher among Central and Northern European populations. Principal component (PC) analysis led to the identification of two dietary patterns in each of the 10 countries. The first was similar in all countries and indicated 'wide-range' food buyers. The second was slightly more varied and described 'beverage and convenience' food buyers. PC1 was common among households of retired and elderly members, while PC2 was common among households located in urban or semi-urban areas and among adult Scandinavians living alone.


The dietary patterns identified point towards a progressive narrowing of dietary differences between North and South European countries. The comparable between-countries DAFNE data could prove useful in ecological studies, in the formulation of dietary guidelines and public health initiatives addressing specific population groups.


European Commission.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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