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Demographic and socioeconomic disparity in nutrition: application of a novel Correlated Component Regression approach
  1. Ala'a Alkerwi1,
  2. Céderic Vernier1,
  3. Nicolas Sauvageot1,
  4. Georgina E Crichton1,2,
  5. Merrill F Elias3,4
  1. 1Luxembourg Health Institute L.I.H. (formerly Centre de Recherche Public Santé), Centre d'Etudes en Santé, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, Strassen, Luxembourg
  2. 2Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
  3. 3Department of Psychology, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, USA
  4. 4Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ala'a Alkerwi; alaa.alkerwi{at}


Objectives This study aimed to examine the most important demographic and socioeconomic factors associated with diet quality, evaluated in terms of compliance with national dietary recommendations, selection of healthy and unhealthy food choices, energy density and food variety. We hypothesised that different demographic and socioeconomic factors may show disparate associations with diet quality.

Study design A nationwide, cross-sectional, population-based study.

Participants A total of 1352 apparently healthy and non-institutionalised subjects, aged 18–69 years, participated in the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg (ORISCAV-LUX) study in 2007–2008. The participants attended the nearest study centre after a telephone appointment, and were interviewed by trained research staff.

Outcome measures Diet quality as measured by 5 dietary indicators, namely, recommendation compliance index (RCI), recommended foods score (RFS), non-recommended foods score (non-RFS), energy density score (EDS), and dietary diversity score (DDS). The novel Correlated Component Regression (CCR) technique was used to determine the importance and magnitude of the association of each socioeconomic factor with diet quality, in a global analytic approach.

Results Increasing age, being male and living below the poverty threshold were predominant factors associated with eating a high energy density diet. Education level was an important factor associated with healthy and adequate food choices, whereas economic resources were predominant factors associated with food diversity and energy density.

Conclusions Multiple demographic and socioeconomic circumstances were associated with different diet quality indicators. Efforts to improve diet quality for high-risk groups need an important public health focus.


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