Socioeconomic differences in fruit and vegetable consumption among middle-aged French adults: adherence to the 5 A Day recommendation

J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Dec;108(12):2021-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.09.011.


Background: Numerous studies support the protective effect of high fruit and vegetable consumption on chronic disease risk, mainly against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The increase of fruit and vegetable intake has become a public health priority in many countries.

Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate the relationships of socioeconomic, demographic, and behavioral factors with both quantity and variety of fruit and vegetable consumption.

Design/subjects: Fruit and vegetable intake was assessed using repeated 24-hour dietary records collected during a 2-year period from 4,282 French subjects (2,373 men and 1,909 women), aged 45 to 62 years, who participated in a large prospective study.

Statistical analysis: Both education level and occupation categories were used as socioeconomic indicators. Logistic regression models were applied to assess factors related to meeting the 5 A Day fruit and vegetable recommendation. Covariance analyses were performed to compare the fruit and vegetable variety scores and the contributions of fruit and vegetables to the total daily diet cost across socioeconomic indicators within each sex.

Results: Meeting the 5 A Day recommendation was more likely in subjects aged 50 years and older, higher education levels, nonsmokers, moderate alcohol drinkers and in women engaging in regular physical activity. The odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for the lower vs higher education level was 0.70 (0.54 to 0.92) in men and 0.65 (0.48 to 0.85) in women. No significant difference was observed between occupation categories. A positive relationship between vegetable variety and education level was found in both sexes. Fruit variety was positively associated with both education and occupation categories, but only in men. The contribution of fruits to the total daily diet cost increased with occupation (P<0.02) and education (P<0.0001) in men, but decreased with occupation in women (P<0.05).

Conclusions: Although cost constraints may explain the lower fruit and vegetable intake in lower socioeconomic groups, the relative influence of budgetary resources, nutrition knowledge, and social and environmental barriers in socioeconomic disparities need further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet Records
  • Diet Surveys
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • France
  • Fruit* / economics
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Patient Compliance / psychology
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vegetables* / economics