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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2016 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2016

Association of household income and education with eating behaviors in Japanese adults: a cross-sectional study

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2016
Saki Nakamura, Takayo Inayama, Kikuko Hata, Munehiro Matsushita, Masaki Takahashi, Kazuhiro Harada, Takashi Arao
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

SN designed the study, analyzed the data, and drafted the article. TI and KH (Hata) participated in the study design, supervised, and helped draft the manuscript. MM conceived the study, participated in its design and coordination, and supervised writing the article. MT, KH (Harada), and TA participated in the study design and supervised writing the article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Socioeconomic inequalities as social determinants of health are important issues in public health and health promotion. However, the association between socioeconomic status and eating behaviors has been investigated poorly in Japanese adults. To fill this gap, the present study examines the association of eating behaviors with household income and education.


The sample comprised 3,137 Japanese adults (1,580 men and 1,557 women) aged 30 to 59 years who responded to an Internet-based cross-sectional survey in 2014. Data on the following eating behaviors were collected via self-report: “taking care of one’s diet for health,” “eating vegetables,” “frequency of eating breakfast,” “frequency of family breakfasts,” “frequency of family dinners,” “using the information on nutrition labels,” and “conversations with family or friends during meals.” Self-reported data on socioeconomic status (household income and education) and demographic variables (gender, age, district of residence, marital status, residence status, and employment status) were also collected. The associations between eating behaviors and household income or education were tested using binomial logistic regression analysis with eating behaviors as dependent variables and household income and education as independent variables. A trend P -value was calculated for three categories of household income (less than 3,000,000 JPY, 3,000,000–7,000,000 JPY, and over 7,000,000 JPY) and education (junior high/high school, 2-year college, and 4-year college/graduate school).


Higher household income and education were significantly associated with higher rates of eating vegetables, using the information on nutrition labels, and conversation with family or friends during meals in Japanese men and women. Higher household incomes were significantly associated with lower rates of frequency of family breakfasts in Japanese men and lower rates of frequency of family dinners in Japanese men and women.


Higher socioeconomic status as indicated by household income or education was associated with eating more vegetables and conversation with family or friends during meals in Japanese men and women. Socioeconomic status should be considered in health promotion and diet improvement.
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