The association between socio-economic position and diet quality in Australian adults
Backholer K., Spencer E., Gearon E., Magliano DJ., Mcnaughton SA., Shaw JE., Peeters A.
Objective We aimed to investigate the association between multiple measures of socio-economic position (SEP) and diet quality, using a diet quality index representing current national dietary guidelines, in the Australian adult population. Design Cross-sectional study. Linear regression analyses were used to estimate the association between indicators of SEP (educational attainment, level of income and area-level disadvantage) and diet quality (measured using the Dietary Guideline Index (DGI)) in the total sample and stratified by sex and age (≤55 years and >55 years). Setting A large randomly selected sample of the Australian adult population. Subjects Australian adults (n 9296; aged ≥25 years) from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. Results A higher level of educational attainment and income and a lower level of area-level disadvantage were significantly associated with a higher DGI score, across the gradient of SEP. The association between indicators of SEP and DGI score was consistently stronger among those aged ≤55 years compared with their older counterparts. The most disadvantaged group had a DGI score between 2 and 5 units lower (depending on the marker of SEP) compared with the group with the least disadvantage. Conclusions A higher level of SEP was consistently associated with a higher level of diet quality for all indicators of SEP examined. In order to reduce socio-economic inequalities in diet quality, healthy eating initiatives need to act across the gradient of socio-economic disadvantage with a proportionate focus on those with greater socio-economic disadvantage.