Objective: To compare the dietary intake of Chinese people living in Pan Yu, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Sydney with respect to cardiovascular health, using the Mediterranean diet score, examining the effects of age, gender, urbanization and acculturation on the diet score.
Subjects: A total of 500 men and 510 women in Hong Kong were recruited as a territory-wide stratified random sample. Subjects were recruited in response to local advertisements for the other three sites: Pan Yu, 58 men, 95 women; San Francisco, 166 men, 192 women; Sydney, 95 men, 73 women.
Method: Food-frequency questionnaire over a 7 week period. A high/healthy score was taken as > or =4 for men and >3 for women, representing a dietary pattern beneficial for cardiovascular health.
Results: In Hong Kong, more women in the middle age group (35-54) had a high score than other age groups, and overall more women had high scores than men. In comparing the four geographical regions, Pan Yu had the highest number of subjects with high score, and Hong Kong had the lowest. With the exception of the younger population and men in Hong Kong, the percentage of the population with a high score in all sites is greater than among elderly Greeks consuming a more traditional heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.
Conclusion: Considerable variations in Chinese dietary patterns exist with respect to age, gender and geographic location. Overall, the Chinese diet is comparable to the Mediterranean diet and may be expected to have similar health benefits that have been documented for the traditional Mediterranean diet.