Socio-Demographic Characteristics and Food Habits of Organic Consumers

Abstract: Objective: To develop a basis for building models that can examine the impact of organic food (OF) choices on maternal and offspring health, including identification of factors associated with OF consumption and underlying dietary patterns. Design: Dietary intake was collected for the preceding month from an FFQ in mid-pregnancy and information on sociodemographic characteristics was collected from telephone interviews during pregnancy. From a question about OF consumption in the FFQ, including six food categories, an OF preference index was calculated. Latent variables that captured the variability in OF choices in relation to dietary intake were defined. Setting: The Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC), 1996–2002. Subjects: Pregnant women from DNBC (n 60 773).Results: We found that frequent OF use was highly associated with age, occupational status, urbanization, smoking and vegetarianism. By principal components analysis we identified two eating patterns, a ‘Western dietary pattern’ and a ‘Prudent dietary pattern’, that explained 14·2 % of the variability in data. Frequent OF users consumed a more ‘prudent’ diet compared with non-users and had significantly higher intakes of vegetables (+67 %), fibre (+13 %) and n-3 fatty acids (+11 %) and less saturated fat (−8 %). Conclusions: Frequent OF users seemed to have a healthier lifestyle than non-users. These findings highlight a major challenge in observational studies examining the impact of OF consumption on health due to potentially irremediable confounding factors.

Reference: Petersen, S., et al. (2013). Sociodemographic characteristics and food habits of organic consumers – a study from the Danish National Birth Cohort. Public Health Nutrition 16(10): 1810-1819. Available online at