Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997 Jun;51 Suppl 2:S23-9.

Definitions of 'healthy' eating: a pan-EU survey of consumer attitudes to food, nutrition and health.

Author information

Wessex Institute for Health Research and Development, University of Southampton, UK.

Erratum in

  • Eur J Clin Nutr 1997 Sep;51(9):641.



To describe the perceptions of a healthy diet across Europe and to explore the socio-cultural factors that influence these perceptions.


A cross-sectional study in which quota-controlled, nationally-representative samples of approximately 1000 adults from each country completed a face-to-face interview-assisted questionnaire.


The survey was conducted between October 1995 and February 1996 in the 15 member states of the European Union.


14331 subjects (aged 15 y upwards) completed the questionnaire. Data were weighted by population size for each country and by sex, age and regional distribution within each member state.


Responses were grouped into broad categories; overall 80% (specific country rates varied from 67-91%) of respondents mentioned either more fruit and vegetables or less fat, fatty foods, or a low fat diet, or balance and variety. The effects of age, gender and level of education were also explored: educational level appeared to have the strongest influence on perceptions of a healthy diet. Respondents who mentioned the family as a key influence on food choice, were more likely to mention eating more fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Respondents who stated that they did not have any source of information about diet were less likely to mention balance and variety or less fat or more vegetables.


The results of the present study suggest that many people defined healthy eating in a way which would suggest that the healthy dietary guidelines are having some impact. The results also show, however, that there may be specific groups who are missed by current national campaigns, and that any European wide campaigns to change attitudes about healthy eating need to consider the baseline perception of healthy eating reported here.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center