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Sociodemographic factors associated with healthy eating and food security in socio-economically disadvantaged groups in the UK and Victoria, Australia

  • Lukar E Thornton (a1), Jamie R Pearce (a2) and Kylie Ball (a1)
Abstract
Objective

To investigate the associations between sociodemographic factors and both diet indicators and food security among socio-economically disadvantaged populations in two different (national) contextual settings.

Design

Logistic regression was used to determine cross-sectional associations between nationality, marital status, presence of children in the household, education, employment status and household income (four low income categories) with daily fruit and vegetable consumption, low-fat milk consumption and food security.

Setting

Socio-economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the UK and Australia.

Subjects

Two samples of low-income women from disadvantaged neighbourhoods: (i) in the UK, the 2003–05 Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey (LIDNS; n 643); and (ii) in Australia, the 2007–08 Resilience for Eating and Activity Despite Inequality (READI; n 1340).

Results

The influence of nationality, marital status and children in the household on the dietary outcomes varied between the two nations. Obtaining greater education qualifications was the most telling factor associated with healthier dietary behaviours. Being employed was positively associated with low-fat milk consumption in both nations and with fruit consumption in the UK, while income was not associated with dietary behaviours in either nation. In Australia, the likelihood of being food secure was higher among those who were born outside Australia, married, employed or had a greater income, while higher income was the only significant factor in the UK.

Conclusions

The identification of factors that differently influence dietary behaviours and food security in socio-economically disadvantaged populations in the UK and Australia suggests continued efforts need to be made to ensure that interventions and policy responses are informed by the best available local evidence.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email lukar.thornton@deakin.edu.au
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