Poor diet may represent one pathway through which lower socioeconomic position (SEP) leads to adverse health outcomes. This study examined the associations between SEP and diet quality, its components, energy, and nutrients in a nationally representative sample of Australians. Dietary data from two 24-h recalls collected during the cross-sectional Australian Health Survey 2011-13 (n = 4875; aged ≥ 19 years) were analysed. Diet quality was evaluated using the Dietary Guidelines Index (DGI). SEP was assessed by index of area-level socioeconomic disadvantage, education level, and household income. Linear regression analyses investigated the associations between measures of SEP and dietary intakes. Across all of the SEP indicators, compared with the least disadvantaged group, the most disadvantaged group had 2.5-4.5 units lower DGI. A greater area-level disadvantage was associated with higher carbohydrate and total sugars intake. Lower education was associated with higher trans fat, carbohydrate, and total sugars intake and lower poly-unsaturated fat and fibre intake. Lower income was associated with lower total energy and protein intake and higher carbohydrate and trans fat intake. Lower SEP was generally associated with poorer diet quality and nutrient intakes, highlighting dietary inequities among Australian adults, and a need to develop policy that addresses these inequities.
Keywords: diet quality; education; income; inequity; nutrient intake; socioeconomic position.