The association between socio-economic position and diet quality in Australian adults Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractObjectiveWe aimed to investigate the association between multiple measures of socio-economic position (SEP) and diet quality, using a diet quality index representing current national dietary guidelines, in the Australian adult population.DesignCross-sectional study. Linear regression analyses were used to estimate the association between indicators of SEP (educational attainment, level of income and area-level disadvantage) and diet quality (measured using the Dietary Guideline Index (DGI)) in the total sample and stratified by sex and age (≤55 years and >55 years).SettingA large randomly selected sample of the Australian adult population.SubjectsAustralian adults (n 9296; aged ≥25 years) from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study.ResultsA higher level of educational attainment and income and a lower level of area-level disadvantage were significantly associated with a higher DGI score, across the gradient of SEP. The association between indicators of SEP and DGI score was consistently stronger among those aged ≤55 years compared with their older counterparts. The most disadvantaged group had a DGI score between 2 and 5 units lower (depending on the marker of SEP) compared with the group with the least disadvantage.ConclusionsA higher level of SEP was consistently associated with a higher level of diet quality for all indicators of SEP examined. In order to reduce socio-economic inequalities in diet quality, healthy eating initiatives need to act across the gradient of socio-economic disadvantage with a proportionate focus on those with greater socio-economic disadvantage.


  • Backholer, Kathryn
  • Spencer, Elizabeth
  • Gearon, Emma
  • Magliano, Dianna J
  • McNaughton, Sarah A
  • Shaw, Jonathan E
  • Peeters, Anna

publication date

  • 2016