The relationships among socioeconomic status, fruit and vegetable intake, and alcohol consumption

Am J Health Promot. Sep-Oct 2012;27(1):21-8. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.110311-QUAN-108.


Purpose: We examined the relationships among fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol consumption, and socioeconomic status (SES). We hypothesized that fruit and vegetable consumption would be inversely associated with alcohol consumption and the relationship would differ by SES.

Design: A cross-sectional analysis.

Setting: Large, urban Midwestern county.

Subjects: A unique, racially/ethnically diverse sample of 9959 adults (response rate: 66.3%).

Measures: Fruit and vegetable intake was measured using two items that assessed servings per day. Alcohol consumption was measured in terms of volume of alcohol consumed and binge drinking. Individual measures of SES included education and household income.

Analysis: Weighted multivariate linear and Poisson regression were used to estimate effects.

Results: The relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and alcohol consumption varied by SES. Those with lower household incomes who consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day were less likely to engage in binge drinking relative to those consuming zero to one servings of fruits and vegetables per day (risk ratio = .66; 95% confidence interval: .46, .95). No association was observed for higher-household-income individuals.

Conclusion: We observed an inverse relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and alcohol intake in those with lower household incomes but not in those with higher household incomes. Results suggest that the relationship between diet and alcohol consumption may be more relevant in populations with more restricted economic choices. Results are, however, based on cross-sectional data.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / economics
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Binge Drinking / economics
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / economics
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Vegetables*
  • Young Adult