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BMC Public Health. 2004 Dec 2;4:58.

Educational and economic determinants of food intake in Portuguese adults: a cross-sectional survey.

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Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Porto, R, Roberto Frias, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal.



Understanding the influences of educational and economic variables on food consumption may be useful to explain food behaviour and nutrition policymaking. The aim of this study was to evaluate the importance of educational and economic factors in determining food pattern in Portuguese adults.


A cross-sectional study in a representative sample of Portuguese adults (20977 women and 18663 men). Participants were distributed in four categories according to years of education (<or=4, 5-9, 10-12, and >12) and income (<or=314 euros, 315-547 euros, 548-815 euros, and >815 euros). Logistic regression models were fitted to estimate the magnitude of the association between food groups and education/income, adjusting for confounders.


In both genders, the odds favouring milk, vegetable soup, vegetables, fruit, and fish consumption, increased significantly with education, for those having >12 years of education compared to those with <or=4 years; the odds favouring wine, and spirits consumption decreased significantly with education, for those having >12 years of education compared to those with <or=4 years. In males, the odds favouring starchy foods and meat consumption decreased significantly with income, while for milk, the odds increased with higher income (those having >815 euros compared to those with <or=314 euros).


The low and high income groups are or tend to be similar in regard to several food groups consumption, and access to education/information appears to be the key element to a better food pattern as indicated by higher frequency of milk, vegetable soup, vegetables, fruit, and fish consumption.

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