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Dietary intake in the Swiss French-speaking population: socio-economic determinants, health consequences

English title Dietary intake in the Swiss French-speaking population: socio-economic determinants, health consequences
Applicant Marques-Vidal Pedro
Number 145187
Funding scheme NRP 69 Healthy Nutrition and Sustainable Food Production
Research institution Unisanté (Center for Primary Care and Public Dpt d'épidémiologie et services de santé Section des maladies chroniques
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Dietetics
Start/End 01.07.2013 - 31.01.2017
Approved amount 150'000.00
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Keywords (5)

niveau socio-économique; alimentation; recommandations alimentaires; habitudes alimentaires; Suisse romande

Lay Summary (French)

Une alimentation inadéquate favorise les maladies cardiovasculaires, le diabète, le cancer et l’obésité. Des études menées à l’étranger ont montré que les caractéristiques socio-économiques des individus conditionnent leur alimentation : les personnes des couches sociales défavorisées ont une alimentation moins saine que les personnes des couches sociales plus aisées. Cette différence pourrait expliquer la plus grande fréquence de maladies chroniques chez les groupes plus défavorisés.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche

Notre étude cherchera à caractériser l’alimentation de la population suisse romande selon le niveau socio-économique. Il s'agit d'un champ de recherche qui a été peu exploré ces dernières années. Pour ce faire, nous analyserons les résultats de plusieurs études conduites en Suisse romande (études CoLaus à Lausanne et Bus-Santé à Genève). Les bases de données de ces études sont disponibles, ce qui permet de débuter notre recherche dans les plus brefs délais.

Dans un premier temps, nous comparerons la composition de l’alimentation (calories, protéines, hydrates de carbone, graisses) selon le niveau socio-économique. Ensuite, nous comparerons le pourcentage d’individus qui suivent les recommandations de la Société Suisse de Nutrition pour différents aliments (exemple: 5 fruits et légumes par jour), toujours selon le niveau socio-économique. Finalement, nous comparerons les comportements alimentaires (alimentation plus ou moins riche en fruits et légumes, laitages, etc.) selon le niveau socio-économique.

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

Nous espérons que notre étude identifiera les habitudes alimentaires selon le niveau socio-économique, une approche qui a rarement été effectuée en Suisse. Notre étude permettra aussi de savoir s’il faut faire des campagnes de promotion de l’alimentation saine chez les couches sociales les plus défavorisées.

Nous espérons utiliser la même approche pour étudier l’effet du tabac ou de l’activité physique sur l’alimentation, ou les interactions entre les gènes et l’alimentation.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.07.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants



Fifteen-year trends in the prevalence of barriers to healthy eating in a high-income country.
de Mestral Carlos, Khalatbari-Soltani Saman, Stringhini Silvia, Marques-Vidal Pedro (2017), Fifteen-year trends in the prevalence of barriers to healthy eating in a high-income country., in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 105(3), 660-668.
Socioeconomic Determinants of Sodium Intake in Adult Populations of High-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
de Mestral Carlos, Mayén Ana-Lucia, Petrovic Dusan, Marques-Vidal Pedro, Bochud Murielle, Stringhini Silvia (2017), Socioeconomic Determinants of Sodium Intake in Adult Populations of High-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis., in American Journal of Public Health, 107(4), 563.
Barriers to healthy eating in Switzerland: A nationwide study.
de Mestral Carlos, Stringhini Silvia, Marques-Vidal Pedro (2016), Barriers to healthy eating in Switzerland: A nationwide study., in Clinical Nutrition, 35(6), 1490-1498.


Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Federal Office of Public Health Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication


Title Year
Nestlé Prize in Nutrition - Young Researcher Award in 2016 2016


Fat-rich, energy-dense diets or diets with a high content in refined carbohydrates are considered to be among the main drivers of the increasing prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), diabetes, cancer and obesity. The dietary intake of the Swiss population appears to be far from optimal. Recent work conducted in our team indicates that adherence to nutritional guidelines is low. Although we also recently showed that dietary intake of the Swiss population is relatively stable over time, no study has so far examined dietary pattern of the Swiss population and their trends over time using objective measurements of food intake at the individual level. Further, studies conducted in various countries (but not Switzerland) have consistently shown that socioeconomic status is one of the strongest determinants of (un)healthy eating. Individuals in the most disadvantaged sections of society tend to have worse dietary behaviours than individuals in higher socioeconomic groups, leading to wide socioeconomic differences in diet-related chronic diseases. Hence, there is a need to characterize the dietary intake of the Swiss population, its socio-economic determinants, and the effects of unhealthy diet on adverse health outcomes. The objectives of our study are: 1) To describe current dietary patterns of the Swiss population; 2) To explore socio-economic determinants of eating habits; and 3) To assess the impact of unhealthy dietary patterns on cardiovascular health.Data from several population-based surveys (CoLaus study in Lausanne, Bus Santé in Geneva and the Swiss National Nutrition Survey) will be used. The first two surveys have led to a considerable number of scientific publications in high-ranking journals. The Swiss National Nutrition Survey will start in November 2013 and end in November 2014. The Study will be conducted under the responsibility of the principal investigator of this research application (Pedro Marques-Vidal), in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. All surveys provide data on dietary intake, socio-economic characteristics and health outcomes of participants. Importantly, the socio-economic questions of the Swiss National Nutrition Survey have been created specifically for the NRP project.The first objective will include the description of calories, macro and micronutrients consumed, the percentage of subjects complying with the recommendations of the Swiss Society of Nutrition and dietary patterns. Based on preliminary results, we expect to find considerable differences between genders and age groups.The second objective involves examining socioeconomic differences in dietary behaviors in the populations under study, the factors underlying these socioeconomic differences and the clustering of a set of unhealthy behaviors (unhealthy eating, smoking, binge drinking and physical inactivity) in socially disadvantaged fractions of the population.The third objective will address the associations between dietary intake (nutrients and compliance to dietary recommendations) and dietary patterns with cardiovascular risk factors (obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes and smoking) and inflammatory markers.The main strengths of this proposal are 1) The databases for the CoLaus and Bus Santé studies have been quality-checked and can be immediately used; 2) The CoLaus and Bus Santé surveys assessed dietary intake using the same methodology in the same age groups: 3) The socio-economic characterization of the participants in the Swiss National Nutrition survey fully complies with the objectives of the NRP and 4) Due to the scarcity of dietary data in Switzerland, the epidemiological, social and scientific impact of this study is high.The new generated data (dietary quality, dietary patterns…) can be further used in other studies focusing on other variables of interest such as genetic markers (gene × diet interaction) or lifestyle measures (physical activity). Hence, this study has a considerable potential to continue unraveling important information regarding nutrition determinants and their health impact in Switzerland.