Who eats four or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day? multivariate classification tree analysis of data from the 1998 survey of lifestyle, attitudes and nutrition in the republic of ireland
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Friel, Sharon; Newell, John; Kelleher, Cecily (2005). Who eats four or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day? multivariate classification tree analysis of data from the 1998 survey of lifestyle, attitudes and nutrition in the republic of ireland. Public Health Nutrition 8 (2), 159-169
Objective: To identify, using the novel application of multivariate classification trees, the socio-economic, sociodemographic and health-related lifestyle behaviour profile of adults who comply with the recommended 4 or more servings per day of fruit and vegetables. Design: Cross-sectional 1998 Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition. Setting: Community-dwelling adults aged 18 years and over on the Republic of Ireland electoral register. Subjects: Six thousand five hundred and thirty-nine (response rate 62%) adults responded to a self-administered postal questionnaire, including a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Results: The most important determining factor of compliance with the fruit and vegetable dietary recommendations was gender. A complex constellation of sociodemographic and socio-economic factors emerged for males whereas the important predictors of 4 or more servings of fruit and vegetable consumption among females were strongly socio-economic in nature. A separate algorithm was run to investigate the importance of health-related lifestyle and other dietary factors on compliance with the fruit and vegetable recommendations. Following an initial split on compliance with dairy recommendations, a combination of non-dietary behaviours showed a consistent pattern of healthier options more likely to lead to compliance with fruit and vegetable recommendations. There did, however, appear to be a compensatory element between the variables, particularly around smoking, suggesting the non-existence of an exclusive lifestyle for health risk. Conclusions: Material and structural influences matter very much for females in respect to compliance with fruit and vegetable recommendations. For males, while these factors are important they appear to be mediated through other more socially contextual-type factors. Recognition of the role that each of these factors plays in influencing dietary habits of men and women has implications for the manner in which dietary strategies and policies are developed and implemented.