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: 2.46). 02/2011; 21(1):35-42. DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckp233
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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