STUDY OBJECTIVE--The study aimed to reveal associations between dietary antioxidant vitamins and other personal characteristics. DESIGN--Population based, cross sectional survey. SETTING--Twenty seven rural, industrial, and semiurban communities in six different regions of Finland. PARTICIPANTS--Subjects included 5304 men and 4750 women aged 15 years or older, who were interviewed about their dietary habits at the baseline study of the Finnish Mobile Clinic Health Examination Survey, 1967-72. MAIN RESULTS--Intakes of carotenoids and vitamins A, E, and C were estimated from dietary history interviews covering the subjects' food consumption in the preceding year. In older age groups intakes of all the vitamins studied were low. Occupation had a profound effect on dietary antioxidant vitamins: intakes were highest in white collar workers and lowest in farmers; those classified as service workers, industrial workers, or housewives came in between. Current smoking was inversely associated with dietary carotenoids and vitamin C, especially in men. The vitamin intakes of ex-smokers were equal to or even slightly higher than those of never smokers. Married men had higher intakes of carotenoids and vitamin C than men living alone. Body mass index was not an important determinant of the intake of antioxidant vitamins. CONCLUSIONS--The associations of dietary antioxidant vitamins with sociodemographic characteristics and smoking were strong enough to exert a confounding or modifying effect in studies on diet and diseases.
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