Objective: Little is known about the relationship of monetary diet costs to dietary intake and obesity, particularly in non-Western populations. This study examined monetary cost of dietary energy in relation to diet quality and body mass index (BMI) among young Japanese women.
Design: Dietary intake was assessed by a validated, self-administered, diet history questionnaire. Diet costs were estimated using retail food prices. Monetary cost of dietary energy (Japanese yen 1000 kcal-1) was then calculated. BMI was computed from self-reported body weight and height.
Subjects: A total of 3931 female Japanese dietetic students aged 18-20 years.
Results: Monetary cost of dietary energy was positively associated with intakes of fruits, vegetables, fish and shellfish, and pulses; however, higher monetary cost of dietary energy was also associated with higher consumption of fat and oil, meat and energy-containing beverages, and lower consumption of cereals (rice, bread and noodles) (all P for trend <0.01). At the nutrient level, monetary cost of dietary energy was positively associated with intakes of dietary fibre and key vitamins and minerals, but also associated positively with intakes of fat, saturated fatty acids, cholesterol and sodium, and negatively with carbohydrate intake (all P for trend <0.0001). After adjustment for possible confounders, monetary cost of dietary energy was quite weakly but significantly negatively associated with BMI (P for trend = 0.0197).
Conclusions: Increasing monetary cost of dietary energy was associated with both favourable and unfavourable dietary intake patterns and a quite small decrease in BMI in young Japanese women.