Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

Differences in fat-related dietary patterns between black, Hispanic and white women: results from the Women's Health Trial Feasibility Study in Minority Populations

Alan R Kristala1 c1, Ann L Shattucka1 and Ruth E Pattersona1

a1 Cancer Prevention Research Program, Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, PO Box 19024, Seattle, Washington 98109-1024, USA


Objective This report examines how sources of fat and patterns of fat-related dietary habits differed between black, Hispanic and white women participating in a randomized trial of a low-fat diet intervention.

Design The intervention consisted of group sessions, which met weekly for 6 weeks, biweekly for 6 weeks and monthly for 9 months, and included didactic nutrition education and activities to provide motivation for sustained dietary change. Outcomes included total fat and fat from nine food groups from a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), and a summary scale and five subscales that measure fat-related dietary habits.

Setting/subjects Data are from 1702 post-menopausal women, recruited from clinical centres in Atlanta, Birmingham and Miami, with dietary assessments at baseline and 6 months post-randomization.

Results Total fat intake was similar across race/ethnic groups at baseline, yet there were many differences in sources of fat and fat-related dietary habits. For example, blacks consumed less fat from dairy foods and more fat from meats than whites. Effects of the intervention on total fat intake or the summary fat-related dietary habits scale did not differ across race/ethnicity groups. There were, however, many differences in how the intervention affected sources of fat and fat-related dietary habits. For example, the intervention effect for added fats (e.g. butter and salad dressings) was −8.9 g for blacks and −12.0 g for whites (P < 0.05). The intervention effect for adopting low-fat meat purchasing and preparation methods was larger for blacks than whites, and the intervention effect for replacing high-fat foods with fruits and vegetables was larger for Hispanics than whites.

Conclusions This study demonstrates that, if properly designed, a single nutrition intervention programme can work well even in groups with culturally diverse dietary patterns.

(Received May 01 1998)

(Accepted October 10 1998)


c1 Corresponding author: Email