• Open Access

Dietary intakes of European, Māori, Pacific and Asian adults living in Auckland: the Diabetes, Heart and Health Study


Correspondence to:
Dr Patricia Metcalf, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Population Health, Tamaki Campus, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand. Fax: 64 9 3737 000; e-mail: p.metcalf@auckland.ac.nz


Objective: To compare dietary intakes of European, Māori, Pacific, and Asian men and women living in Auckland.

Methods: Daily nutrient intakes were calculated from a self-administered food frequency questionnaire from participants in a cross-sectional health screening study carried out between 2002 and 2003. Participants were 4,007 Māori, Pacific, Asian and European people (1,915 men, 2,092 women) aged 35 to 74 years.

Results: Compared with Europeans, Māori and Pacific men had higher total energy intakes per day, while Asians had lower intakes. A similar pattern was observed for carbohydrate and fat consumption. While protein and cholesterol consumption tended to be lower in Europeans than the other three ethnic groups, alcohol consumption and calcium intakes were highest among Europeans. Many of the differences between ethnic groups were attenuated when nutrient consumption was expressed as their percentage contribution to total energy intake suggesting that total food consumption was the major determinant of ethnic differences in nutrient intakes.

Conclusions: There were substantial differences in dietary habits, food selections and cooking practices between European, Māori, Pacific and Asian participants. However, the observed differences were in the area of serving sizes and frequency of consumption of certain foods than to major differences in the range of foods and nutrients consumed or the percentage contribution of carbohydrate, fat or protein to total energy intake.

Implications: The development of strategies to reduce serving sizes and the frequency of consumption of certain foods will be required to help address the major nutrition-related health problems in New Zealand.