Socio-economic differences in takeaway food consumption among adults

Public Health Nutr. 2012 Feb;15(2):218-26. doi: 10.1017/S136898001100139X. Epub 2011 Jul 11.


Objective: To examine socio-economic differences in the frequency and types of takeaway foods consumed.

Design: A cross-sectional postal survey.

Setting: Participants were asked about their usual consumption of overall takeaway food (<4 times/month or ≥4 times/month) and of twenty-two specific takeaway food items (<1 time/month or ≥1 time/month); these latter foods were grouped into 'healthy' and 'less healthy' choices. Socio-economic position was measured on the basis of educational level and equivalised household income, and differences in takeaway food consumption were assessed by calculating prevalence ratios using log binomial regression.

Subjects: Adults aged 25-64 years from Brisbane, Australia, were randomly selected from the electoral roll (n 903; 63·7 % response rate).

Results: Compared with their more educated counterparts, the least educated were more regular consumers of overall takeaway food and fruit or vegetable juice and less regular consumers of sushi. For the 'less healthy' items, the least educated more regularly consumed potato chips, savoury pies, fried chicken and non-diet soft drinks; however, the least educated were less likely to consume curry. Household income was not associated with overall takeaway consumption. The lowest-income group was a more regular consumer of fruit or vegetable juice compared with the highest-income group. Among the 'less healthy' items, the lowest-income group was a more regular consumer of fried fish, ice cream and milk shakes, whereas curry was consumed less regularly.

Conclusions: The frequency and types of takeaway foods consumed by socio-economically disadvantaged groups may contribute to inequalities in overweight or obesity and to chronic disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Choice Behavior
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status*
  • Fast Foods / adverse effects
  • Fast Foods / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vegetables