Finland is known for a sharp decrease in the intake of saturated fat and cardiovascular mortality. Since 2000, however, the consumption of butter-containing spreads – an important source of saturated fats – has increased. We examined social and health-related predictors of the increase among Finnish men and women.
An 11-year population follow-up.
A representative random sample of adult Finns, invited to a health survey in 2000.
Altogether 5414 persons aged 30–64 years at baseline in 2000 were re-invited in 2011. Of men 1529 (59 %) and of women 1853 (66 %) answered the questions on bread spreads at both time points. Respondents reported the use of bread spreads by choosing one of the following alternatives: no fat, soft margarine, butter–vegetable oil mixture and butter, which were later categorized into margarine/no spread and butter/butter–vegetable oil mixture (= butter). The predictors included gender, age, marital status, education, employment status, place of residence, health behaviours, BMI and health. Multinomial regression models were fitted.
Of the 2582 baseline margarine/no spread users, 24.6% shifted to butter. Only a few of the baseline sociodemographic or health-related determinants predicted the change. Finnish women were more likely to change to butter than men. Living with a spouse predicted the change among men.
The change from margarine to butter between 2000 and 2011 seemed not to be a matter of compliance with official nutrition recommendations. Further longitudinal studies on social, behavioural and motivational predictors of dietary changes are needed.