Socioeconomic inequities in diet quality among a nationally representative sample of adults living in Canada: an analysis of trends between 2004 and 2015
Authors: Olstad DL
Background: Socioeconomic inequities in diet quality are stable or widening in the United States; however, these trends have not been well characterized in other nations. Moreover, purpose-developed indices of inequities that can provide a more comprehensive and precise perspective of trends in absolute and relative dietary gaps and gradients using multiple indicators of socioeconomic position (SEP) have not yet been used, and can inform strategies to narrow dietary inequities. Objectives: We quantified nationally representative trends in absolute and relative gaps and gradients in diet quality between 2004 and 2015 according to 3 indicators of SEP among adults in Canada. Methods: Adults (?18 y old) who participated in the nationally representative, cross-sectional Canadian Community Health Survey-Nutrition in 2004 (n = 20,880) or 2015 (n = 13,970) were included. SEP was classified using household income (quintiles), education (5 categories), and neighborhood deprivation (quintiles). Dietary intake data from 24-h recalls were used to derive Healthy Eating Index-2015 (HEI-2015) scores. Dietary inequities were quantified using absolute and relative gaps (between the most and least disadvantaged) and absolute [Slope Index of Inequality (SII)] and relative gradients (Relative Index of Inequality). Overall and sex-stratified multivariable linear regression and generalized linear models examined trends in HEI-2015 scores between 2004 and 2015. Results: Mean HEI-2015 scores improved from 55.3 to 59.0 (maximum: 100); however, these trends were not consistently equitable. Whereas inequities in HEI-2015 scores were stable in the total population and in females, the absolute gap [from 1.60 (95% CI: 0.09, 3.10) to 4.27 (95% CI: 2.20, 6.34)] and gradient [from SII = 2.09 (95% CI: 0.45, 3.73) to SII = 4.84 (95% CI: 2.49, 7.20)] in HEI-2015 scores for household income, and the absolute gradient for education [from SII = 8.06 (95% CI: 6.41, 9.71) to SII = 10.52 (95% CI: 8.73, 12.31)], increased in males. Conclusions: Absolute and relative gaps and gradients in overall diet quality remained stable or widened between 2004 and 2015 among adults in Canada.
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