Socio-cultural theories about gender differences with regard to food and health constitute the point of departure for this paper, which is based on data from two representative surveys in the Norwegian population. Both were carried out in the autumn of 1994; the first with 1050, the second with 13 200 respondents above 15 years of age. The surveys included questions on: (1) opinions on food and health related issues; (2) self reported dietary changes during the last 3 years prior to the study; (3) frequency of consumption of selected foods. Gender differences are analysed and related to various socio-economic variables. Such differences, although not as pronounced as expected, were found for most of the aspects studied. The responses from women were less related to socio-economic variables than those of men, both concerning opinions on what constitutes a healthy diet, and frequency of consumption of some foods (vegetables, fruits and dairy products). Gender differences were more pronounced between than within socio-economic groups. In line with theories about women's higher health consciousness, women in general reported dietary changes corresponding to the dietary recommendations, and may also have learned more about health than men through their choice of information sources.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.