Socioeconomic differences among Australian adults in consumption of fruit and vegetables and intakes of vitamins A, C and folate


Katrina Giskes,
Centre for Public Health Research,
School of Public Health,
Queensland University of Technology,
Victoria Park Rd,
Kelvin Grove, Queensland,
Australia, 4059.
Tel.: +61 73864 5612
Fax: +61 73864 3369


Objective  To determine whether socioeconomic groups differ in their food intakes for fruit and vegetables, their consumption of fruit and vegetables dense in vitamin A, folate and vitamin C, and their nutrient intakes of vitamin C, folate and vitamin A.

Methods  The 1995 Australian National Nutrition Survey collected food intake data from 8883 adults aged 18–64 years using a 24-h dietary recall. Fruit and vegetables were measured as amount (g) consumed. Intakes of nutrients were estimated from the 24-h dietary recall data. Participants were categorized by whether or not they consumed fruit or vegetables high in vitamin A, folate and vitamin C. Gross annual household income was used to measure socioeconomic position.

Results  Participants from low-income households consumed a smaller quantity of fruit and vegetables. They were also less likely to consume fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C, folate and vitamin A. Consistent with these findings, men and women from disadvantaged socioeconomic groups had lower intakes of vitamin C and folate compared with their more affluent counterparts. These differences were small to moderate in magnitude. Vitamin A intakes were not significantly related to income.

Conclusion  As well as promoting healthy dietary practices, nutrition-promotion strategies should target the nutrient intakes of lower socioeconomic groups. These programmes should focus on improving the quantity and choice of fruit and vegetables consumed by people from low-income households.