Examine how meal patterns are associated with nutrient intakes, lifestyle and socioeconomic factors, and energy misreporting.
A cross-sectional study within the Malmö Diet and Cancer (MDC) cohort. Participants reported on the overall types and frequency of meals consumed, and completed a modified dietary history, a lifestyle and socioeconomic questionnaire, and anthropometric measurements. Based on the reported intake of six different meal types, meal pattern groups were distinguished using Ward's cluster analysis. Associations between meal patterns and nutrient intakes, anthropometric, lifestyle and socioeconomic variables were examined using the χ2-method and analysis of variance.
A sub-sample of the MDC study cohort (n=28,098), consisting of 1,355 men and 1,654 women.
Cluster analysis identified five groups of subjects with different meal patterns in both men and women. These meal pattern groups differed regarding nutrient intakes, lifestyle and socioeconomic factors. Subjects reporting frequent coffee meals were more likely to report an ‘unhealthy’ lifestyle, e.g. smoking, high alcohol consumption and low physical activity, while those with a fruit pattern reported a more ‘healthy’ lifestyle. Women were more likely to underreport their energy intake than men, and the degree of underreporting varied between the meal pattern groups.
The meal pattern groups showed significant differences in dietary quality and socioeconomic and lifestyle variables. This supports previous research suggesting that diet is part of a multifaceted phenomenon. Incorporation of aspects on how foods are combined and eaten into public health advices might improve their efficiency.