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Fifteen-year trends in the prevalence of barriers to healthy eating in a high-income country.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2017
Author de Mestral Carlos, Khalatbari-Soltani Saman, Stringhini Silvia, Marques-Vidal Pedro,
Project Dietary intake in the Swiss French-speaking population: socio-economic determinants, health consequences
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume (Issue) 105(3)
Page(s) 660 - 668
Title of proceedings American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
DOI 10.3945/ajcn.116.143719


Background: Despite increasing levels of education and income in the Swiss population over time and greater food diversity due to globalization, adherence to dietary guidelines has remained persistently low. This may be because of barriers to healthy eating hampering adherence, but whether these barriers have evolved in prevalence over time has never been assessed, to our knowledge.Objective: We assessed 15-y trends in the prevalence of self-reported barriers to healthy eating in Switzerland overall and according to sex, age, education, and income.Design: We used data from 4 national Swiss Health Surveys conducted between 1997 and 2012 (52,238 participants aged ≥18 y, 55% women), applying multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models to assess trends in prevalence of 6 barriers to healthy eating (taste, price, daily habits, time, lack of willpower, and limited options).Results: The prevalence of 3 barriers exhibited an increasing trend until 2007, followed by a decrease in 2012 (from 44% in 1997 to 50% in 2007 and then to 44% in 2012 for taste, from 40% to 52% and then to 39% for price, and from 29% to 34% and then to 32% for time; quadratic P-trend < 0.0001). Limited options decreased slightly until 2007 (35-33%) and then sharply by 2012 (18%) (linear P-trend < 0.0001). Daily habits remained relatively stable across time from 42% in 1997 to 38% in 2012 (linear P-trend < 0.0001). Conversely, lack of willpower decreased steadily over time from 26% in 1997 to 21% in 2012 (linear P-trend < 0.0001). Trends were similar for all barriers irrespective of sex, age, education, and income.Conclusion: Between 1997 and 2012, barriers to healthy eating remained highly prevalent (≥20%) in the Swiss population and evolved similarly irrespective of age, sex, education, and income.