British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

Population compliance with national dietary recommendations and its determinants: findings from the ORISCAV-LUX study

Ala'a Alkerwia1a2 c1, Nicolas Sauvageota1, Anne Naua1, Marie-Lise Laira1, Anne-Françoise Donneaua2, Adelin Alberta2 and Michèle Guillaumea2

a1 Centre de Recherche Public Santé, Centre d'Etudes en Santé, Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg

a2 Ecole de Santé Publique, Université de Liège, Belgium


The objective of the present study was to determine the proportion of adults meeting national recommendations for food and nutrient intake and to identify the demographic, socio-economic and behavioural factors that may contribute to weaken dietary compliance. ORISCAV-LUX is a cross-sectional study that took place in Luxembourg (2007–8). A representative stratified random sample of 1352 adults aged 18–69 years participated in the nationwide cardiovascular health survey. A FFQ was used to estimate food intake. Radar charts were built to compare graphically the compliance of the participants with different key dietary guidelines on the same set of axes. The thirteen food- and nutrient-based recommendations were scored and summed to create a recommendation compliance index (range − 0·5 to 14). Ordinal logistic regression analyses were performed to determine the factors contributing to poor dietary compliance. Several food- and nutrient-based guidelines were insufficiently respected compared with others. The greatest gaps occurred in the adherence to grain and dairy product consumption guidelines, as well as to total fat and notably to SFA recommendations. Age, country of birth, economic status, smoking status and subject's awareness of the importance of balanced meals emerged as independently associated with weak dietary compliance. Obese subjects conformed more to dietary recommendations compared with normal-weight subjects. The findings underscore the need for specific nutrition education messages along with targeted interventions. Efforts should be continued to increase population awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.

(Received July 13 2011)

(Revised January 03 2012)

(Accepted January 06 2012)

(Online publication February 08 2012)

Key Words:

  • National dietary recommendations;
  • Nutrition education;
  • Dietary compliance;
  • Epidemiological studies


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Ala'a Alkerwi, fax +352 26 970 719, email


  Abbreviations: ORISCAV-LUX, Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg; RCI, recommendation compliance index