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Dietary patterns among a national random sample of British adults


STUDY OBJECTIVES To identify groups within the UK male and female population who report similar patterns of diet.

DESIGN National representative dietary survey, using seven day weighed dietary records, of men and women aged 16–64 years living in private households in Great Britain in 1986–7. Cluster analysis was used to aggregate participants into diet groups.

SETTING Great Britain.

PARTICIPANTS 1087 men and 1110 women.

RESULTS 93% of men and 86% of women fell into one of four distinct diet groups. Among men the most prevalent diet group was “beer and convenience food” (34% of the male population); second was “traditional British diet” (18%); third was “healthier but sweet diet” (17.5%) and fourth was “healthier diet “ (17%). Among women, the most prevalent diet group was “ traditional British diet” (32%); second, was “healthy cosmopolitan diet” (25%); third was a “convenience food diet” (21%); and fourth was “healthier but sweet diet” (15%). There were important differences in nutrient profile, sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics between diet groups.

CONCLUSIONS Cluster analysis identified four diet groups among men and four among women, which differed not only in terms of reported dietary intakes, but also with respect to nutrient, social and behavioural profiles. The groups identified could provide a useful basis for development, monitoring and targeting of public health nutrition policy in the UK.

  • diet
  • cluster analysis
  • sociodemographic variables

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  • Funding: Department of Health.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.