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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2006 Mar-Apr;38(2):82-90.

Impact of a cost constraint on nutritionally adequate food choices for French women: an analysis by linear programming.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unit 557, Paris, France.



To predict, for French women, the impact of a cost constraint on the food choices required to provide a nutritionally adequate diet.


Isocaloric daily diets fulfilling both palatability and nutritional constraints were modeled in linear programming, using different cost constraint levels. For each modeled diet, total departure from an observed French population's average food group pattern ("mean observed diet") was minimized.


To achieve the nutritional recommendations without a cost constraint, the modeled diet provided more energy from fish, fresh fruits and green vegetables and less energy from animal fats and cheese than the "mean observed diet." Introducing and strengthening a cost constraint decreased the energy provided by meat, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, vegetable fat, and yogurts and increased the energy from processed meat, eggs, offal, and milk. For the lowest cost diet (ie, 3.18 euros/d), marked changes from the "mean observed diet" were required, including a marked reduction in the amount of energy from fresh fruits (-85%) and green vegetables (-70%), and an increase in the amount of energy from nuts, dried fruits, roots, legumes, and fruit juices.


Nutrition education for low-income French women must emphasize these affordable food choices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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