Do socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics predict food choice motives in an Irish working population?

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Dietary behaviour is influenced by a complex web of biological, psychological, physiological, social, economic and cultural factors. Understanding socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics that influence food choice may be important in guiding dietary interventions. This study aimed to identify whether socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics influence food choice in an Irish working population. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2014 as part of the Food Choice at Work Study (FCW), a large clustered non-randomised, controlled trial based in county Cork, Ireland. Information regarding food motives was collected at the 3-4 months follow-up. The ‘Food Choice Questionnaire’ was used to measure food motives. Multiple linear regression was conducted to test the association between socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics (age, gender, body mass index (BMI), education, type of accommodation, living situation, marital status, parental status) and worksite and food motives. A total of 678 employees were included in the analysis. Overall, only a small percentage of food choice was influenced by the characteristics included in this analysis (1.6 to 8.8%). Sensory appeal and satisfaction were scored most important by all sub-populations. Gender was most often associated with differences in food motives (i.e. all food motives except for familiarity and ethical concern were significantly more important to females compared to males; p=0.001/ p<0.001). Worksite, age, body mass index and marital status also seemed to play a small role in influencing food choice. The results show that food choice is complex and not easily explained by differences in socio-demographic or anthropometric population characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Early online date13 Jun 2019
Publication statusEarly online date - 13 Jun 2019


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