Adrienn Lichthammer, Barbara Nagy, *Csaba Orbán, Tímea Tóth, Róbertnè Csajbók, Szilvia Molnár, Katalin Tátrai-Nèmeth, Márta Veresnè Bálint
A comparative study of eating habits, calcium and vitamin D intakes in the population of Central-Eastern European countries
Department of Dietetics and Nutrition Sciences, Institute of Applied Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
Head of Department: Katalin Tátrai-Nèmeth, PhD
Introduction. Vitamin D and calcium intake have got crucial role in the well-balanced, health promoting diet. Many studies indicated that population of different countries can be characterised by inadequate intake of both nutrients. Up to date data are not available from the population of Central-Eastern European countries.
Aim. Compare the eating habits of Central-Eastern European countries, in particular to calcium and vitamin D intake.
Material and methods. Participating people from the investigated countries were randomly selected. 60 Austrian, 187 Polish, 106 Hungarian and 81 Slovenian volunteers were involved. Data were obtained by a self-developed questionnaire, as well as semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (sq-FFQ). Data processing was executed by NutriComp FFQ, and GraphPad Prism 5.0 softwares.
Results. All of the four investigated countries, excessive energy intake was observed, and the associate overweight and obesity as well. Highest calcium intake was recorded in the Hungarian population, while the lowest in Slovenia. Vitamin D intake was critically low in both of the countries.
Conclusions. Awareness campaign is necessary to inform the population about the dangers of the low intake of calcium and vitamin D (e.g. increased risk of osteoporosis, and higher incidence of upper respiratory tract infections). Prevention strategies should be also prepared with the inform of the participating volunteers.
Results of several studies brought the recognition of many risk factors associated with inappropriate nutrition, and we get better picture about the relationship between inaccurate eating habits and the prevalence of chronic, non-communicable diseases. Now we know that the quality of menu, and nutrition itself can clearly affect the years spent in good health, and one’s habits can increase or decrease the length of lifespan.
It is also an evidence that it’s more economical to prevent diseases than to treat them, thus obtaining information about the nutritional health status by surveys has got a crucial role. Those longitudinal studies which give information about the nutrient intake frequencies of the population have especially significant relevance in this field (1-3).
Researches executed in recent years highlight the important role of vitamin D in human physiology. It effects the immune function, and inadequate intake can lead to an increased risk of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, hypertension, and colorectal carcinoma as well (4). From the viewpoint of bone health, it is necessary to investigate vitamin D and calcium intake simultaneously as mainly these two factors contribute to bone development, and thus determine bone density itself. Although they are key nutritional elements of healthy nutrition, from literature we know that a population can be characterised by inadequate intake of both of these two components. Because of these, we aimed to investigate the calcium and vitamin D intake of Hungarian and other Central-Eastern European countries’ populations.
Our aim was to compare the eating habits of Central-Eastern European countries, in particular to calcium and vitamin D intake.
Materials and methods
In this study 434 volunteers were involved from four Central-Eastern European countries (60 Austrian, 187 Polish, 106 Hungarian and 81 Slovenian). Gender distributed to 311 women and 123 man, medians of age given in table 1. Higher number of women can be explained by their higher willingness of answer, as the fill of questionnaire was voluntary (tab. 1). The study was adhered to the tenets of the most recent revision of the Declaration of Helsinki.
Table 1. Age data of participants (data in median [minimum-maximum] format).
To assess the nutrition status and nutrients intake, a questionnaire based on closed questions was applied, which was supplemented by a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (sq-FFQ) (5-7) that contained 77 foodstuffs. Analysis of data was performed by NutriComp FFQ. To analyse the differences of Ca2+ and vitamin D intake between countries, Two Way ANOVA was applied with Bonferroni post hoc test. Assessment of volunteers distribution by BMI categories, Chi-square test was applied. Energy intake alteration between nationalities was analysed by Kruskal-Wallis test with Dunn’s multiple comparison post hoc test. All analysis were performed at 5% significance level (p = 0.05) by using GraphPad Prism version 5.00 for Windows, GraphPad Software, San Diego California USA, www.graphpad.com.
Among the investigated countries excessive energy intake (fig. 1) was observed, and the related overweight and obesity were also indicated by the study (tab. 2).
Fig. 1. Daily energy intake in the investigated countries (median, IQR, p = 0.05).
Table 2. Distribution of participants by BMI categories (capita) (8).
|BMI categories||Austria||Hungary||Poland||Slovenia|| |
|Underweight||1||9||19||4||X2 = 16.35|
p = 0.0597
In contrast to the recommended 4-5 times of eating, tendencies of participants of this study show, that people mostly eat only two-three times a day. Analysis of macronutrients intake brought the result that it is typical that carbohydrate contribution to the total energy intake is low in all of the countries (A: 43.4 E%, Pl: 41.9E%, H: 39.2E%, Slo: 42.3E%). In contrast, ratio of fats (A: 42.7E%, Pl: 43.2E%, H: 46.0E%, Slo: 42.8E%) in the menus was above the 30% of energy recommendations. Protein intake ratio (A: 13.5E%, Pl: 14.5E%, H: 14.8E%, Slo: 14.5E%) was nearby the edge of acceptable upper limit in all of the countries. From the above detailed data, the results of Hungarian population proved to be the worst among the four countries.
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