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Public Health Nutr. 2011 Sep;14(9):1680-92. doi: 10.1017/S1368980010003642. Epub 2011 Jan 24.

Diet cost, diet quality and socio-economic position: how are they related and what contributes to differences in diet costs?

Author information

1
Department of Food and Nutrition, Umeå University, S-90187 Umeå, Sweden. petra.ryden@kost.umu.se

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine diet costs in relation to dietary quality and socio-economic position, and to investigate underlying reasons for differences in diet costs.

DESIGN:

Dietary intake was assessed by a 4 d food diary and evaluated using the 2005 Healthy Eating Index (HEI). National consumer food prices collected by Statistics Sweden and from two online stores/supermarkets were used to estimate diet costs.

SETTING:

Sweden.

SUBJECTS:

A nationally representative sample of 2160 children aged 4, 8 or 11 years.

RESULTS:

Higher scores on the HEI resulted in higher diet costs and, conversely, higher diet costs were linked to increased total HEI scores. Children who consumed the most healthy and/or expensive diets ate a more energy-dilute and varied diet compared with those who ate the least healthy and/or least expensive diets. They also consumed more fish, ready meals and fruit. Regression analysis also linked increased food costs to these food groups. There was a positive, but weak, relationship between HEI score and diet cost, parental education and parental occupation respectively.

CONCLUSIONS:

Healthy eating is associated with higher diet cost in Swedish children, in part because of price differences between healthy and less-healthy foods. The cheapest and most unhealthy diets were found among those children whose parents were the least educated and had manual, low-skill occupations. Our results pose several challenges for public health policy makers, as well as for nutrition professionals, when forming dietary strategies and providing advice for macro- and microlevels in society.

PMID:
21255480
DOI:
10.1017/S1368980010003642
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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