Socio-economic differences in the consumption of vegetables, fruit and berries in Russian and Finnish Karelia: 1992-2007

National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland.
The European Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.59). 02/2011; 21(1):35-42. DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckp233
Source: PubMed


Food habits and their socio-economic differences in Russia have rarely been compared to those in western countries. Our aim was to determine socio-economic differences and their changes in the consumption of vegetables, fruit and berries in two neighbouring areas: the district of Pitkäranta in the Republic of Karelia, Russia, and North Karelia, Finland.
Cross-sectional risk factor surveys in Pitkäranta, in 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007 (1144 men, 1528 women) and in North Karelia, in 1992, 1997 and 2002 (2049 men, 2316 women), were carried out. Data collected with a self-administered questionnaire were analysed with logistic regression.
The consumption of fruit and vegetables was more common in North Karelia than in Pitkäranta, but increased markedly in Pitkäranta from 1992 to 2007. In Pitkäranta, women, and in North Karelia both men and women with higher education ate fresh vegetables more often than those with a lower education. In both areas, daily consumption of fruit tended to be more common among subjects with a higher education. In Pitkäranta, there were virtually no differences by employment status. In North Karelia, vegetable consumption was less common among the unemployed than the employed subjects. Only minor socio-economic differences in berry consumption were observed. The educational differences in vegetable consumption seemed to widen in Pitkäranta and narrow in North Karelia.
A converging trend was observed, with the Russian consumption levels and socio-economic differences starting to approach those observed in Finland. This may be partly explained by the improvements in availability and affordability of fruit and vegetables in Pitkäranta.

1 Follower
14 Reads
  • Source
    • "In North Karelia, subjects drinking skimmed milk and subjects that did not drink any milk belonged to the reference category. Respondents were asked about their consumption of cheese in a food frequency section, which is described in more detail in our previous publication [21]. In North Karelia, the format of the food frequency section was revised in 2007, but categories comparable with other study years could be constructed from the new food frequency section. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Food habits vary by socio-economic group and geographic area. Data on socio-economic differences in food habits and in serum total cholesterol concentration from Russia are scarce. Our aim was to examine changes and educational differences in serum total cholesterol and in the consumption of major sources of saturated fat in two geographically neighbouring areas, Russian and Finnish Karelia, and to examine whether the foods associated with serum total cholesterol are different in the two areas. Methods Data from cross-sectional risk factor surveys from years 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2007 in the district of Pitkäranta, the Republic of Karelia, Russia (n = 2672), and North Karelia, Finland (n = 5437), were used. The analyses included two phases. 1) To examine the differences in cholesterol by education, the means and 95% confidence intervals for education groups were calculated for each study year. 2) Multivariate linear regression analysis was employed to examine the role of butter in cooking, butter on bread, fat-containing milk and cheese in explaining serum total cholesterol. In these analyses, the data for all four study years were combined. Results In Pitkäranta, serum total cholesterol fluctuated during the study period (1992–2007), whereas in North Karelia cholesterol levels declined consistently. No apparent differences in cholesterol levels by education were observed in Pitkäranta. In North Karelia, cholesterol was lower among subjects in the highest education tertile compared to the lowest education tertile in 1992 and 2002. In Pitkäranta, consumption of fat-containing milk was most strongly associated with cholesterol (β=0.19, 95% CI 0.10, 0.28) adjusted for sex, age, education and study year. In North Karelia, using butter in cooking (β=0.09, 95% CI 0.04, 0.15) and using butter on bread (β=0.09, 95% CI 0.02, 0.15) had a significant positive association with cholesterol. Conclusions In the two geographically neighbouring areas, the key foods influencing serum cholesterol levels varied considerably. Assessment and regular monitoring of food habits are essential to plan nutrition education messages that are individually tailored for the target area and time.
    BMC Public Health 10/2012; 12(1):910. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-12-910 · 2.26 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Mediterranean countries increased their consumption of meat, milk and sugar; meanwhile, some Northern countries decreased their intake of such foods and increased their fruit and vegetable consumption [21-26]. Dietary trends observed elsewhere in Central and Eastern European countries are similar to those found in Lithuania [10,11,27,28]. The increase in the availability of vegetable oils, margarines, fresh fruits and vegetables - even when out of season - was followed by rise in the consumption of healthier foods. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During the post-communist transition period, political, economic, and social changes affected the lifestyles of the Lithuanian population, including their nutritional habits. However, people of lower socio-economic position were more vulnerable to these changes. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the trends in selected food habits of the Lithuanian adult population by their level of education and place of residence from 1994 to 2010. The data were obtained from nine biannual cross-sectional postal surveys of Lithuanian health behaviours, beginning in 1994. Each survey used a randomly selected nationally representative sample of 3000 inhabitants aged 20-64 drawn from the population register. In total, 7358 men and 9796 women participated in these surveys. Questions about food consumption were included within all health behaviour questionnaires. During the transition period, use of vegetable oil in cooking and the frequency of consumption of fresh vegetables increased, use of butter on bread decreased, and the proportion of women drinking high-fat milk declined. Lithuanians with higher education reported more frequent use of vegetable oil in cooking as well as daily consumption of fresh vegetables than those with a lower level of education. Consumption of high-fat milk was inversely associated with educational background. In addition, the proportion of persons spreading butter on bread increased with higher education level. The greatest urban-rural difference was observed in high-fat milk consumption. The increase in the use of vegetable oil in cooking, and the reduction of spreading butter on bread was more evident among less educated and rural inhabitants. Meanwhile, a greater proportion of the rural population, compared to urban, reduced their use of butter on bread. Daily consumption of fresh vegetables increased most among highly educated Lithuanians. The data from our study indicate beneficial dietary changes among the Lithuanian adult population. In general, those with a higher level of education had healthier food habits than those with low education. The educational gradient in analyzed food habits, except the use of vegetable oil, enlarged. A higher proportion of the rural population, compared to urban, reduced their usage of butter on bread. However, consumption of high-fat milk was greatest in the rural population. Our data highlight the need for future food and nutrition policies, as well as health promotion programmes, targeting the whole population, particularly those with lower education and living in rural areas.
    BMC Public Health 03/2012; 12(1):218. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-12-218 · 2.26 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Monitoring food consumption and its determinants over time is essential for defining and implementing health promotion strategies, but surveillance is scarce in Africa. The present study aimed to describe fruit and vegetable consumption in Mozambique according to socio-demographic characteristics and place of residence (urban/rural). A national representative sample (n 3323) of subjects aged 25-64 years was evaluated in 2005 following the WHO Stepwise Approach to Chronic Disease Risk Factor Surveillance, which included an assessment of usual fruit and vegetable consumption (frequency and quantity). Crude prevalence and age-, education- and family income-adjusted prevalence ratios (PR) with 95 % CI were computed. Less than 5 % of the subjects reported an intake of five or more daily servings of fruits/vegetables. Both fruits and vegetables were more often consumed by women and in rural settings. In urban areas, the prevalence of fruit intake ( ≥ 2 servings/d) increased with education ( ≥ 6 years v. < 1 year: women, adjusted PR = 3·11, 95 % CI 1·27, 7·58; men, adjusted PR = 3·63, 95 % CI 1·22, 10·81), but not with income. Conversely, vegetable consumption ( ≥ 2 servings/d) was less frequent in more educated urban men ( ≥ 6 years v. < 1 year: adjusted PR = 0·30, 95 % CI 0·10, 0·94) and more affluent rural women ( ≥ $801 US dollars (USD) v. $0-64: adjusted PR = 0·32, 95 % CI 0·13, 0·81). The very low intake of these foods in this setting supports the need for fruit and vegetable promotion programmes that target the whole population, despite the different socio-demographic determinants of fruit and vegetable intake.
    The British journal of nutrition 07/2011; 107(3):428-35. DOI:10.1017/S0007114511003023 · 3.45 Impact Factor
Show more