Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 9-9-2020

Journal / Book Title

PlosOne

Abstract

Background

Previous research indicates that income inequality is associated with risk for mortality, self-rated health status, chronic conditions, and health behavior, such as physical activity. However, little is known about the relationship between income inequality and dietary intake, which is a major risk factor for common chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancers. The objective of this study is to determine the association between US state income inequality and fruit and vegetable consumption among adults.

Methods

Cross-sectional data on 270,612 U.S. adults from the U.S. 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System was used. Fruit and vegetable consumption was assessed from the six-item fruit and vegetable frequency questionnaire, which is part of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Multilevel modeling was used to determine whether US state-level income inequality (measured by the z-transformation of the Gini coefficient) was associated with fruit and vegetable consumption adjusting for individual-level and state-level covariates.

Results

In comparison to men, women were more likely to consume fruits and vegetables ≥5 times daily, fruits ≥2 times daily, vegetables ≥3 times of daily, and less likely to consume fruit juice daily. Among both men and women, a standard deviation increase in Gini coefficient was associated with an increase in consuming fruit juice daily (OR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.03, 1.11). However, among women, a standard deviation increase in Gini coefficient was associated with a decreased likelihood in meeting daily recommended levels of both fruits and vegetables (OR = 0.93; 0.87–0.99), fruits only (OR = 0.95; 95% CI, 0.92–0.99) and vegetables only (OR = 0.92; 95% CI, 0.89–0.96).

Conclusions

This study is one of the first to show the relationship between income inequality and fruit and vegetable consumption among U.S. adults empirically. Women’s health is more likely to be detrimentally affected when living in a state with higher income inequality.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0238577

Published Citation

M Horino, SY Liu, EY Lee, I Kawachi, R Pabayo. State-level income inequality and the odds for meeting fruit and vegetable recommendations among US adults. PlosOne. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0238577

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