Are dietary inequalities among Australian adults changing? a nationally representative analysis of dietary change according to socioeconomic position between 1995 and 2011-13.Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2018 04 02; 15(1):30.IJ
Increasing inequalities in rates of obesity and chronic disease may be partly fuelled by increasing dietary inequalities, however very few nationally representative analyses of socioeconomic trends in dietary inequalities exist. The release of the 2011-13 Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey data allows investigation of change in dietary intake according to socioeconomic position (SEP) in Australia using a large, nationally representative sample, compared to the previous national survey in 1995. This study examined change in dietary intakes of energy, macronutrients, fiber, fruits and vegetables among Australian adults between 1995 and 2011-13, according to SEP.
Cross-sectional data were obtained from the 1995 National Nutrition Survey, and the 2011-13 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. Dietary intake data were collected via a 24-h dietary recall (n = 17,484 adults) and a dietary questionnaire (n = 15,287 adults). SEP was assessed according to educational level, equivalized household income, and area-level disadvantage. Survey-weighted linear and logistic regression models, adjusted for age, sex/gender and smoking status, examined change in dietary intakes over time.
Dietary intakes remained poor across the SEP spectrum in both surveys, as evidenced by high consumption of saturated fat and total sugars, and low fiber, fruit and vegetable intakes. There was consistent evidence (i.e. according to ≥2 SEP measures) of more favorable changes in dietary intakes of carbohydrate, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat in higher, relative to lower SEP groups, particularly in women. Intakes of energy, total fat, saturated fat and fruit differed over time according to a single SEP measure (i.e. educational level, household income, or area-level disadvantage). There were no changes in intake of total sugars, protein, fiber or vegetables according to any SEP measures.
There were few changes in dietary intakes of energy, most macronutrients, fiber, fruits and vegetables in Australian adults between 1995 and 2011-13 according to SEP. For carbohydrate, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, more favorable changes in intakes occurred in higher SEP groups. Despite the persistence of suboptimal dietary intakes, limited evidence of widening dietary inequalities is positive from a public health perspective.
Clinical trials registration: ACTRN12617001045303 .