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J Hum Nutr Diet. 2000 Jun;13(3):197-204.

A comparison of household food availability in 11 countries.

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  • 1Department of Extension Specialists, Rutgers University, USA; University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece; National School of Public Health & University of Athens Medical School, 75 M. Asias Street, Goudi, Athens, Greece.



To identify intercountry food intake patterns, we compared the household food availability data collected by the Nationwide Food Consumption Survey (NFCS) in the United States and the Household Budget Surveys (HBS) from 10 European countries that participated in the DAta Food NEtworking (DAFNE) project, namely Belgium, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.


The DAFNE project harmonized European household food availability data by clarifying which food items were included in each country's HBS, and then defining comparable food categories among countries. NFCS household data were harmonized with the HBS data by applying the same procedures used in the DAFNE project.


The results presented in this paper reveal a number of similarities and differences in household food availability among 11 nations. In nearly all countries studied, red meat was available in greater quantities than poultry and seafood combined. Most countries favoured bread and rolls over other types of grain products, had a low to moderate availability of seafood and legumes, had a moderate amount of sugar available, and consumed approximately two-thirds or more of fruits and vegetables in a fresh form. Milk availability tended to be inversely correlated with cheese availability. Only in Mediterranean households was vegetable oil, namely olive oil, the primary type of added lipid available. While the data presented in this paper can do much to improve our understanding of food availability in US and European households, it is important to remember that these data do not include foods purchased and consumed away from home.


Despite the limitations of household food availability data, the results presented in this paper can help health professionals develop a more international perspective.

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