Educational attainment and nutrient consumption patterns: The Minnesota Heart Survey

L. H. Kushi, A. R. Folsom, D. R. Jacobs, R. V. Luepker, P. J. Elmer, H. Blackburn

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To explore whether dietary patterns differ according to educational attainment, we examined the associations of nutrient intake with educational level in a sample of 825 male and 893 female Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) residents aged 25 to 74 years who were surveyed between 1980 and 1982. Of particular interest was the pattern of macronutrient consumption, since the proportion of fat and type of fat in the diet is thought to be related to the development of chronic disease. Estimates of nutrient intake were based on 24-hour dietary recalls, while information on education was obtained through interview. Educational attainment was positively associated with nutrient consumption patterns that may decrease risk of chronic disease for both men and women. For women, the proportion of dietary fat was less (p = .03) and carbohydrate greater (p = .004) with increasing education. For men, the Keys dietary score decreased as education increased (p = .05) (high scores indicate greater blood cholesterol-raising effect of the diet). Inverse associations of average total serum cholesterol level with education in both men (p = .02) and women (p = .06) support these dietary associations. These results suggest that educational attainment is related positively to eating patterns that may carry a decreased risk of cardiovascular and other chronic disease. Whether or not this association is causal, it would appear to point to a need for more effective nutrition education strategies for those with less education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1230-1236
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1988


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