Investigating the "Glasgow effect" of diet
posted on: Feb 16, 2010
Associations between unhealthy eating and deprivation account for much of the tendency of people in Glasgow to have poor diets, according to work funded by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health carried out by Dr Linsay Gray and Prof Alastair Leyland of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit.
Comparisons between diets of individuals living in the Greater Glasgow area and the rest of Scotland were based on over 25,000 participants in the Scottish Health Surveys 1995 to 2003. Glasgow residents were found to be lower consumers of healthier food such as high fibre bread and green vegetables, and starchy foods, such as potatoes, pasta and rice. However, these differences diminished when deprivation was taken into account. On the other hand, higher consumption of butter and salt in Glasgow was not explained by higher levels of deprivation in the area. Exceptionally, there were some favourable aspects of diet, such as lower ice-cream consumption, which were more common in Glasgow.
Discussing the implications of the findings, Dr Linsay Gray commented that "policies are needed to encourage improvements in diet in Glasgow and more effort is required to reduce social inequalities in eating habits. Glasgow's poor diet will remain unless problems associated with poverty are tackled."
The findings are published in Public Health Nutrition.