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Income, Education Associated With Diet Cost and Quality

Last Updated: May 04, 2009.

People with higher socioeconomic status and educational levels are more likely to consume a costly but high-quality diet of lower-energy-density foods, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

MONDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- People with higher socioeconomic status and educational levels are more likely to consume a costly but high-quality diet of lower-energy-density foods, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Pablo Monsivais, Ph.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and a colleague conducted a cross-sectional study of 164 men and women in the Seattle area from June 2005 to September 2006.

Compared to the reference group, the researchers found that subjects in the two highest income groups spent an additional 90 cents per 2,000 calories of dietary energy and that subjects in the two highest education-level groups spent approximately an additional $1 per 2,000 calories of dietary energy. They also found that people with higher socioeconomic status and education level were more likely to consume a low-energy-density diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber.

"Future studies, based on more representative samples, will be needed to elucidate the connections between diet quality and diet cost across socioeconomic strata," the authors conclude. "A new and important opportunity for such analyses has been recently made possible with the creation of food prices corresponding to the dietary intake data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey."

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