Objective: To assess longitudinal changes in the consumption of nutrients and the impact of socio-economic factors on diet transition in the Melbourne Chinese Health Study (MCHS) cohort.
Design: Longitudinal study including two phases: baseline (1989/90) and follow-up (1995/97).
Settings: Melbourne metropolitan areas in Victoria, Australia. STUDY SUBJECTS AND METHOD: Two hundred and sixty-two Chinese men and women aged 25 years and over, recruited at baseline, who had completed the both baseline and follow-up food-frequency questionnaires.
Results: Women increased their daily intakes of energy (+549 kJ), protein (+7.8 g), fat (+7.3 g) and dietary fibre (+5.6 g) whereas men decreased their daily consumption of carbohydrate (-38.5 g) over an average period of 8 years. Energy contributions from protein and fat rose while that from carbohydrate dropped for all cohort subjects. Increased intakes of riboflavin, beta-carotene and iron were observed in men, while an increased consumption of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and minerals (except sodium) was observed in women. Socio-economic factors such as education, family income levels and occupational categories appeared to have a far more powerful influence on changes in individual daily nutrient intakes than age or length of stay in Australia. Changes in nutrient intake in women were less affected by sociodemographic variables.
Conclusion: The observed changes in nutrient intakes indicated a progressive approach towards the Australian Recommended Dietary Intakes within this Chinese cohort population.