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Socioeconomic differences in dietary patterns among middle-aged men and women


  • Martikainen, Pekka
  • Brunner, Eric
  • Marmot, Michael


The aim of the study is to (i) identify common dietary patterns, (ii) study socioeconomic differences in these dietary patterns, and (iii) assess whether they contribute to socioeconomic differences in biological risk factors. The data come from the Whitehall II study of London civil servants, who participated in the third phase (1991-1993) and were 39-63-years old (N=8004). Food frequency questionnaire and socioeconomic background information was from a questionnaire, and biological risk factors from a medical screening. Six dietary patterns were identified. In reference to high employment grade men, the odds ratios of low grade men consuming the 'unhealthy' or the 'very unhealthy' diet were 1.26 and 3.34, respectively, while the odds for the 'French' diet was 0.13. Among women the corresponding odds were 2.98, 6.19 and 0.25. Adjusting for spouse's socioeconomic status and to a lesser extent smoking and exercise as well as job control attenuate these grade differences somewhat. Among men and women adjusting for dietary patterns accounted for about 25--50 per cent of grade differences in HDL and serum triglyceride levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Martikainen, Pekka & Brunner, Eric & Marmot, Michael, 2003. "Socioeconomic differences in dietary patterns among middle-aged men and women," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1397-1410, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:7:p:1397-1410

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Zimmerman, Frederick J., 2013. "Habit, custom, and power: A multi-level theory of population health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 47-56.
    2. Aue, Katja & Roosen, Jutta, 2010. "Poverty and health behaviour: Comparing socioeconomic status and a combined poverty indicator as a determinant of health behaviour," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116401, European Association of Agricultural Economists;Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Ricciuto, Laurie E. & Tarasuk, Valerie S., 2007. "An examination of income-related disparities in the nutritional quality of food selections among Canadian households from 1986-2001," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 186-198, January.
    4. Stefan Angel, 2016. "The Effect of Over-Indebtedness on Health: Comparative Analyses for Europe," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 208-227, May.
    5. Singh-Manoux, Archana & Marmot, Michael, 2005. "Role of socialization in explaining social inequalities in health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(9), pages 2129-2133, May.


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