Evaluation of food consumption and dietary patterns in Spain by the Food Consumption Survey: updated information

G Varela-Moreiras, J M Avila, C Cuadrado, S del Pozo, E Ruiz, O Moreiras
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010, 64 Suppl 3: S37-43

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The Food Consumption Survey (FCS), conducted for over 20 years by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MARM), is the most reliable source of data to evaluate the food consumption and dietary patterns of Spain. The aim of this study was to assess population food availability per capita per day, which allows the calculation of energy and nutrient intake and comparison with the Recommended Nutrient Intakes for the Spanish population. In addition, different markers of the quality of the diet have been evaluated.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: The sample consisted of consumption and distribution data, obtained from the nationwide representative FCS for the period 2000-2006. A two-stage sampling method was applied, where in the first stage the units to be sampled were towns or local entities, and in the second stage households that were going to be part of the final sample from those entities were selected. Units consisted of towns or local entities in the national territory. The sample size was 619 selected entities. Units in the second stage were households from the selected towns (8200 homes). The data allowed the calculation of energy and nutrient intakes, using food composition tables. The quality of the diet was also evaluated: the adequacy of the diet in meeting the recommended intakes for energy and nutrients; energy profile; dietary fat quality; dietary protein quality; nutrient density; and Mediterranean diet adequacy indices. The present data were compared with previous data obtained by our research group in 1964, 1981 and 1991.

RESULTS: Using the most recent data, average intake comprised milk and derivatives (379 g/person/day), fruit (310 g/person/day), vegetables and greens (302 g/person/day), cereals and derivatives (214 g/person/day), meat and meat products (179 g/day), fish (100 g/person/day), oil and fat (48 g/person/day), precooked food (34 g/person/day), eggs (32 g/person/day), and legumes and pulses (11.9 g/person/day). There was also a high consumption of non-alcoholic beverages (433 g/person/day) and alcoholic beverages (247 g/person/day). In consequence, meat and meat product consumption was higher than the recommendations, whereas for cereals and their derivatives, vegetables and greens, fruit, and legumes and pulses, consumption was below recommendations for the Spanish population. Some staple and traditional Mediterranean foods (bread, potatoes and olive oil) showed a dramatic decline when compared with data from Household Budget Surveys in 1964 data. Energy intake declined by about 300 kcal/person/day, when compared with the 1964 mean consumption. Insufficient nutrient intakes were found in the young adult population for zinc and folic acid in both sexes, and for iron in women, when compared with dietary reference values.

CONCLUSIONS: Food consumption patterns in Spain and energy and nutrient intakes have changed markedly in the last 40 years, differing at present from the traditional and healthy Mediterranean diet.

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