Characteristics and Dietary Patterns of Healthy and Less-Healthy Eaters in the Low-Income Population

Publisher: Alexandria, VA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Research and Analysis
Feb 28, 2012
Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Mary Kay Fox, and P.K. Newby
This report reviews sociodemographic and dietary characteristics of individuals in each group and describes their distinct dietary patterns, as identified through a cluster analysis of dietary intake. Individuals were classified as healthy or less-healthy eaters according to their scores on the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2005. Among adults, characteristics associated with healthy eating include being female, older than 60, and foreign-born. Among children, they include being ages 2 to 5 and living in a household with a foreign-born individual. In addition, both child and adult healthy eaters were more likely than less-healthy eaters to eat breakfast, eat three meals daily, and consume fruits and vegetables.