From Our 2012 Archives
5 Dietary Patterns Most Americans Fit Into
Study: Race and Region Often Affect Dietary Pattern a Person Follows
By Jennifer Warner
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
March 13, 2012 -- Your race, age, and where you live may influence what you eat, for better and for worse.
A new study shows most American diets fall into one of five major patterns:
"We believe focusing research on dietary patterns better represents how people eat, compared to single foods or nutrients," says researcher Suzanne Judd, PhD, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, in a news release. "We hope that understanding these patterns will be informative in understanding the role of diet in health and disease disparities."
Researchers found each of the five diet types is strongly influenced by age, race, region, gender, education, and income.
For example, African-Americans were much more likely than whites to follow a Southern diet, and middle-age adults between 45 and 54 tended to follow a traditional diet.
Diet Affected by Demographics
In the study, presented at an American Heart Association meeting this week, more than 21,000 adults aged 45 and older completed a questionnaire containing 110 food items. The survey was designed to estimate how often people ate various food groups and nutrients.
The results showed clear differences in diet patterns between demographic and socioeconomic groups.
Several groups were associated with the Southern diet, including men, African-Americans, those who live in the Southeastern U.S., and those with lower incomes and education.
Other differences associated with diet patterns included:
These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary, as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.
SOURCES: American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions, San Diego, March 13-16, 2012. News release, American Heart Association.