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To analyse trends in food habits and food consumption from 1992 to 2003.
Two consecutive cross-sectional nutrition surveys were carried out on random samples of the Catalan population (Evaluation of Nutritional Status in Catalonia (ENCAT) 1992–93 and ENCAT 2002–03). Dietary intake was assessed by means of two 24-hour recalls on non-consecutive days and a food frequency questionnaire was used to ascertain tendencies in the frequency of food consumption.
Catalonia region, Northeastern Spain.
Analysis is based on a total of 4701 individuals: 2641 from ENCAT 1992–93 (1210 men and 1431 women) and 2060 from ENCAT 2002–03 (954 men and 1106 women), aged 10–75 years.
The trends from 1992 to 2003 showed an increase in eating between meals and outside the home. There was also an upsurge in consumers for fast food, especially among young adults. Notable decreases in fruit consumption (from 301 to 224 g day−1) as well as in vegetables, potatoes, meat (red meat and chicken), fish (whitefish and seafood) and offals were observed. In contrast, there was an increase in dairy product consumption, in general (from 255 to 312 g day−1), as well as low fat and skim milk derivatives. Fruit juice, nuts and olive oil consumption also increased, the latter being consumed daily by 96% of the population. Little variation was observed for the rest of the food groups in the period studied. Overall, Catalonia is characterised by a model of consumption that is quite favourable, inherent to Mediterranean countries but with important differences according to age.
Based on the food consumption trends observed in Catalonia, an increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables, as well as wholegrain cereals and fish, should be promoted, along with a reduction in the consumption of meat and sausages.