The problem of collecting detailed dietary information on a large population scattered throughout England, Wales and Scotland was resolved by use of a 7 day dietary diary, introduced at home interviews. Information on food types and quantities was coded to provide data on a wide range of nutrients. Reported levels of iron and fibre intake were found to be particularly low in relation to current recommended daily intakes, which were more often achieved by men than by women. Best dietary habits were associated with good educational attainment, whatever the social class of origin, but in women this was in some circumstances associated also with relatively high intakes of alcohol, protein and fats. Worst dietary habits were associated with low social class of family of origin and low educational attainment. Mean intakes of some nutrients varied significantly by region, in most cases independently of class and education. The implications of these findings are discussed.
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