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A diet low in fat and rich in fibre has been recommended to optimize general health and in particular cardiovascular health. Health attitudes to fat and fibre were studied in relation to food and nutrient intake and sociocultural and lifestyle factors amongst the general population of Northern Ireland. The study population comprised 592 adults aged 16–64 years; health attitudes to fat and fibre were assessed by questionnaire (based on a social psychological model, which adjusted for taste and convenience factors). Dietary intake was estimated using the weighed inventory technique. Fat-phobic and fibre-philic attitudes were more prevalent in women than men. Fat-phobic attitudes in women were inversely related to intake of fat through a reduced intake of chips, butter and sausages. In contrast, men's fat-phobic attitudes were not strongly correlated with fat intake; consumption of chips and sausages was negatively associated with fat-phobic attitudes, but cake/biscuit, buns/pastries and milk consumption was positively associated with fat-phobic attitudes. Fibre-philic attitudes were positively associated with dietary fibre intake; intakes of potatoes, vegetables, wholemeal bread and breakfast cereal were positively associated with fibre-philic attitudes. There were clear sociocultural and lifestyle differences in relation to dietary attitude. These findings have implications for campaigns designed to effect population dietary change.
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