AHA: Dietary Patterns Can Be Classified Into Five Groups

Dietary patterns differ across demographic and socioeconomic groups in the United States

WEDNESDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Dietary patterns in the United States can be classified into five groups, according to the results of a large cohort study presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology & Prevention and Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions, held from March 13 to 16 in San Diego.

Abraham J. Letter, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues investigated dietary patterns among 21,636 black and white adults aged 45 years and older who completed the Block 98 food frequency questionnaire at baseline. Dietary patterns were determined based on 56 food groups.

The researchers identified five dietary patterns. The "traditional" pattern was characterized by mixed dishes, including frozen or take-out meals; a "healthy" pattern included large quantities of fruits and vegetables; the "sweets" pattern included a large amount of sweet snacks and desserts; the "Southern" pattern included fried food, organ meat, and sweetened beverages; and the "alcohol" pattern was characterized by beer, liquor, wine, and salads. There were differences in the patterns across socioeconomic and demographic groups; for example, compared with whites, blacks were more likely to have a Southern diet and less likely to follow the alcohol pattern.

"Clear and meaningful dietary patterns emerged in this large cohort of black and white Americans. Variability in dietary intake across demographic factors emphasizes the need to explore how these factors contribute to differential susceptibility to stroke and other chronic diseases," the authors write.

The study was funded in part by General Mills.

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