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Home-prepared food, dietary quality and socio-demographic factors: a cross-sectional analysis of the UK National Diet and nutrition survey 2008–16

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Clifford Astbury, Chloe  ORCID logo
Penney, Tarra L. 
Adams, Jean 


Abstract: Background: Evidence suggests eating home-prepared food (HPF) is associated with increased dietary quality, while dietary quality varies across socio-demographic factors. Although it has been hypothesised that variation in HPF consumption between population sub-groups may contribute to variation in dietary quality, evidence is inconclusive. This study takes a novel approach to quantifying home-prepared food (HPF) consumption, and describes HPF consumption in a population-representative sample, determining variation between socio-demographic groups. It tests the association between HPF consumption and dietary quality, determining whether socio-demographic characteristics moderate this association. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of UK survey data (N = 6364, aged≥19; collected 2008–16, analysed 2018). High dietary quality was defined as ‘DASH accordance’: the quintile most accordant with the Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (DASH) diet. HPF consumption was estimated from 4-day food diaries. Linear regressions were used to determine the association between HPF consumption and socio-demographic variables (household income, education, occupation, age, gender, ethnicity and children in the household). Logistic regression was used to determine the association between HPF consumption and DASH accordance. Interaction terms were introduced, testing for moderation of the association between HPF consumption and DASH accordance by socio-demographic variables. Results: HPF consumption was relatively low across the sample (Mean (SD) % of energy consumption = 26.5%(12.1%)), and lower among white participants (25.9% v 37.8 and 34.4% for black and Asian participants respectively, p < 0.01). It did not vary substantially by age, gender, education, income or occupation. Higher consumption of HPF was associated with greater odds of being in the most DASH accordant quintile (OR = 1.2 per 10% increase in % energy from HPF, 95% CI 1.1–1.3). Ethnicity was the only significant moderator of the association between HPF consumption and DASH accordance, but this should be interpreted with caution due to high proportion of white participants. Conclusions: While an association exists between HPF consumption and higher dietary quality, consumption of HPF or HPF’s association with dietary quality does not vary substantially between socio-demographic groups. While HPF may be a part of the puzzle, it appears other factors drive socio-demographic variation in dietary quality.



Research, Cooking, Home food preparation, Dietary quality, DASH, Socio-demographic variation, Health inequalities

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity

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BioMed Central