Marital transitions and associated changes in fruit and vegetable intake: Findings from the population-based prospective EPIC-Norfolk cohort, UK
Social Science & Medicine
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Vinther, J. L., Conklin, A. I., Wareham, N., & Monsivais, P. (2016). Marital transitions and associated changes in fruit and vegetable intake: Findings from the population-based prospective EPIC-Norfolk cohort, UK. Social Science & Medicine, 157 120-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.04.004
Background Diet is critical to health and social relationships are an important determinant of diet. We report the association between transitions in marital status and healthy eating behaviours in a UK population. Methods Longitudinal study of middle-age and older adults 39−78y (n = 11 577) in EPIC-Norfolk, a population-based cohort, who completed food frequency questionnaires in 1993–97 and 1998–2002. Multivariable linear regression analyses assessed gender-specific associations between five categories of marital transitions and changes in quantity (g/d), and variety (no/month) of fruits or vegetables. Results In 3.6 years of follow-up and relative to men who stayed married, widowed men showed significant declines (mean difference, 95% CI) in all four indicators of healthy eating including fruit quantity (−47.7, −80.6 to −14.9 g/d), fruit variety (−0.6, −1.1 to −0.2 no/month), vegetable quantity (−27.7, −50.5 to −4.9 g/d), and vegetable variety (−1.6, −2.2 to −0.9 no/month). Men who were separated or divorced or who remained single also showed significant declines in three of the indicators. Among women, only those who became separated/divorced or stayed single showed declines in one indicator, vegetable variety. Conclusion Unhealthy changes to diet accompanying divorce, separation and becoming widowed may be more common among men than women. Moreover, deterioration in fruit and vegetable intakes was more apparent for variety rather than quantity consumed. Programmes to promote healthy eating among older adults need to recognise these social determinants of diet and consider prioritising people who live alone and in particular men who have recently left relationships or who have been widowed.
marital status, marital termination, fruit and vegetable, gender, social ties
AIC acknowledges PhD funding from the Gates Cambridge Trust. This work was undertaken by the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UKCRC Public Health Research of Excellence and was funded by The British Heart Foundation, Economic and Social Research, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust, under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (grant number MR/K023187/1). We further acknowledge core MRC Epidemiology Unit support through Programme grant MC_UU_12015/1.
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (NF-SI-0512-10135)
Wellcome Trust (087636/Z/08/Z)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.04.004
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/255135
Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/uk/
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