Research: HAMMAR and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 177

Abstract

HAMMAR and COLLEAGUES,  Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. niklas.hammar@ki.se compared dietary habits between Finnish twin migrants to Sweden and their co-twins always living in Finland, and analysed how migration influenced food consumption patterns in the migrants. 

Background

Migration influences food consumption patterns in the migrants. It would be interesting to compare dietary habits between Finnish twin migrants to Sweden and their co-twins always living in Finland.

Methodology

Same-sexed twin pairs born in Finland below 75 years of age, with at least one twin migrating to Sweden (n=1083 pairs). Dietary habits were assessed by a food frequency questionnaire included in a comprehensive mailed questionnaire (response rate 71%). For 76 male twin pairs, information was also collected by a dietary history interview inquiring the habitual diet during the previous year.

Results

Migrant twins in Sweden had a lower intake of typical Finnish foods like dark bread and berries, and an increased consumption of fresh fruit compared with co-twins living in Finland. The migrants consumed less potatoes and more rice and pasta. Sweet pastries were consumed less often by the migrants and they also tended to more often cut out visible fat of meat and on the other hand add salt to dishes. Among men the migrants had a lower alcohol intake than their co-twins living in Finland.

Conclusion

Migration from Finland to Sweden is associated with differences in the food pattern that reflect population differences in eating habits between the two countries. The differences include a reduced consumption of typical Finnish foods like dark bread and berries and are of bi-directional nature from the point of view of cardiovascular health.

References

Hammar N, Hakala P, Jorgensen L, Becker W, Hedlund E,  Ronnemaa T, Koskenvuo M and Kaprio J. Migration and differences in dietary habits-a cross sectional study of Finnish twins in Sweden. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 63(3): 312-22. Mar 2009.

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