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Nutrients 2015, 7(10), 8478-8490; doi:10.3390/nu7105409

Is Healthier Nutrition Behaviour Associated with Better Self-Reported Health and Less Health Complaints? Evidence from Turku, Finland

1
Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucester GL2-9HW, UK
2
Department of Public Health, University of Turku, Turku FIN-20014, Finland
3
Department of Public Health, University of Skövde, Skövde S-54128, Sweden
4
Folkhälsan Research Center, FIN-00251 Helsinki, Finland
5
Unit for Health Promotion Research, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, 6700 Esbjerg, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 July 2015 / Revised: 11 September 2015 / Accepted: 5 October 2015 / Published: 14 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Pattern and Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [219 KB, uploaded 14 October 2015]

Abstract

We examined nutrition behaviour, self-reported health and 20 health complaints of undergraduates in Finland. Students at the University of Turku in Finland participated in a cross-sectional online survey (N = 1189). For nutrition behaviour, we computed two composite food intake pattern scores (sweets, cakes and snacks; and fruits and vegetables), a dietary guideline adherence index and the subjective importance of healthy eating. Multinomial logistic regression assessed the association of students’ nutrition behaviour with three levels of self-reported health, controlling for many potential confounders (age, sex, living with partner, economic situation, moderate physical activity, Faculty and BMI). Factor analysis of the 20 health complaints revealed three components (psychological, pains/aches and circulatory/breathing symptoms). Multiple linear regression tested the association of students’ eating habits with the three components of health complaints, controlling for the same confounders. Fruits and raw and cooked vegetable consumption, dietary guideline adherence index and subjective importance of healthy eating were highest among students with excellent/very good self-reported health, exhibiting a decreasing trend for those individuals with poor/fair self-reported health. High levels of psychological symptoms were associated with decreased consumption of fruits and vegetables, less dietary guideline adherence and less subjective importance of healthy eating. Pain/aches symptoms were associated with a higher consumption of sweets, cookies and snacks and a lower adherence to dietary guidelines. More healthy nutrition behaviour was consistently associated with better self-reported health and less health complaints. Of the four nutrition behaviour indicators we employed, the dietary guideline adherence index was the best indicator and exhibited the most consistent associations with self-reported health and health complaints. View Full-Text
Keywords: Finland; food intake; health complaints; gender; student health; eating healthy; dietary guidelines adherence Finland; food intake; health complaints; gender; student health; eating healthy; dietary guidelines adherence
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

El Ansari, W.; Suominen, S.; Berg-Beckhoff, G. Is Healthier Nutrition Behaviour Associated with Better Self-Reported Health and Less Health Complaints? Evidence from Turku, Finland. Nutrients 2015, 7, 8478-8490.

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