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Dietary patterns and whole grain cereals in the Scandinavian countries – differences and similarities. The HELGA project

  • Dagrun Engeset (a1), Dag Hofoss (a1) (a2), Lena M Nilsson (a3), Anja Olsen (a4), Anne Tjønneland (a4) and Guri Skeie (a1)...
Abstract
Objective

To identify dietary patterns with whole grains as a main focus to see if there is a similar whole grain pattern in the three Scandinavian countries; Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Another objective is to see if items suggested for a Nordic Food Index will form a typical Nordic pattern when using factor analysis.

Setting

The HELGA study population is based on samples of existing cohorts: the Norwegian Women and Cancer Study, the Swedish Västerbotten cohort and the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health study. The HELGA study aims to generate knowledge about the health effects of whole grain foods.

Subjects

The study included a total of 119 913 participants.

Design

The associations among food variables from FFQ were investigated by principal component analysis. Only food groups common for all three cohorts were included. High factor loading of a food item shows high correlation of the item to the specific diet pattern.

Results

The main whole grain for Denmark and Sweden was rye, while Norway had highest consumption of wheat. Three similar patterns were found: a cereal pattern, a meat pattern and a bread pattern. However, even if the patterns look similar, the food items belonging to the patterns differ between countries.

Conclusions

High loadings on breakfast cereals and whole grain oat were common in the cereal patterns for all three countries. Thus, the cereal pattern may be considered a common Scandinavian whole grain pattern. Food items belonging to a Nordic Food Index were distributed between different patterns.

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Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Email dagenge@online.no
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