Socioeconomic Position

In general, those of lower socioeconomic position tend to consume poorer diets than those of higher socioeconomic position (Diez-Roux et al, 1999). For example, cross-sectional data from the Netherlands demonstrated that men and women in the lower socioeconomic groups (defined according to education, occupation, and occupational position) tended to have dietary patterns less conducive to good health, including greater intakes of sugars and sweets (Hulshof et al, 2003). Similarly, findings from the Australian National Nutrition Survey found men and women of higher socioeconomic status (defined according to occupation) more frequently consumed foods promotive of good health such as breakfast cereals and wholemeal bread (Mishra et al, 2002). A Swedish study found many differences in associations between dietary intake and socioeconomic position across two different measures of socioeconomic position, educational attainment, and occupational status (Galobardes et al, 2001). For instance, in that study fiber intake was significantly lower in men and women of lower socioeconomic position defined according to occupation, but no significant differences were observed across educational categories. Similarly, meat intake was significantly higher among women of lower occupational status, but no significant difference across educational categories was evident. These findings highlight the importance of giving careful consideration to the measures of socioeconomic position and eating behavior employed.

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