Can we predict who adopts health-promoting foods? Users of functional foods in Finland

Niva, Mari (2008)
Co-Action Publishing
English
Array
Background: Healthy eating has a social pattern, with women and those in high socioeconomic positions most likely to follow dietary guidelines. However, little is known about the association of sociodemographic and health factors with the use of health-promoting functional foods. Objective: The study examined the use of functional foods in Finland. Four widely used product types were examined in detail with respect to sociodemographic factors and personal efforts to promote health. Design: Data were obtained by computer-assisted telephone interviews of 1210 respondents representing the Finnish population above 15 years of age. Logistic regression analysis was applied to analyse the predictors of use of functional foods. Results: Sociodemographic variables were associated with the use of functional foods. The role of gender and age varied. In most cases, high education or high occupational position predicted use. Use was also associated with viewing healthy eating as important and consuming other functional foods. Efforts to lower cholesterol levels predicted the use of cholesterol-lowering spreads. Conclusions: Both sociodemographic factors and personal health efforts play a role in the adoption of functional foods. High socioeconomic position predicts use, whereas age and gender remain product specific. An important aspect is the connection of functional foods with efforts to lead a healthy life. For healthorientated consumers, functional foods may represent a complementary health practice. Keywords: consumers; eating; functional foods; health; sociodemographics

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