Socio-economic determinants of eating practices of Ukrainians


  • Natalia Chagarna School of Public Health, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
  • Tatiana I Andreeva School of Public Health, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine


eating practices, socio-economic characteristics


BACKGROUND: Healthy eating practices are among important public health goals worldwide. We aimed to investigate socio-economic determinants of the nutrition habits of Ukrainian families.
METHODS: Data from the “Ukrainian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey 2007” were analysed. Factor analysis produced variables characterising eating practices, which were re-coded in binary variables indicating low/high food consumption. The bivariate and multivariate analysis was conducted to identify associations between socio-economic state and eating modes.
RESULTS: Three dimensions of nutrition practices were identified in the factor analysis: “standard diet” variable associated with quantities of most food products consumed, it actually shows how much food in general the household consumes, “fruit-and-vegetable diet” variable was associated with quantities of various fruits and vegetables included in the questionnaire, and “processed-(pre-packed)-food diet” variable was created based on its associations with products like sausage. More “processed” food was consumed by members of households which were generally better-off (equipped with dvd-player, computer (laptop), garage), and Russian-speakers. More plant food was consumed by the households with attributes of rural living (equipped with bottled gas, central or individual system of heating, those who possessed a motorcycle or a truck). The owners of a plot adjacent to rural house or land used for gardening were eating more fruit and vegetables. A small group of well-off urban dwellers (like those possessing tumble-dryers) tend to eat more plant food; however, this group is not numerous.
CONCLUSION: Plant food eating in Ukraine stays a factor of survival rather than healthy eating for those households which dwell in rural areas and have no means to choose foods they want. Those people who achieve better socio-economic status tend to increase processed food portion of their diets. Only a very small group of affluent Ukrainian citizens tend to eat much fruit and vegetables contributing to U-form relationship between socio-economic status and antioxidant-rich food consumption.
KEYWORDS: eating practices, socio-economic characteristics.