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ICEID: Eating Habits Vary Dramatically By Gender

National survey results show men more likely to eat runny eggs and pink hamburger

THURSDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- American men and women have strikingly different diets, and men are more likely than women to consume certain foods that carry a high risk of transmitting infectious disease, according to research presented this week at the 2008 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.

Beletshachew Shiferaw, M.D., of the Oregon Department of Human Services in Portland, Ore., and colleagues analyzed data from the 2006-2007 Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) survey of 14,660 American adults including 5,595 men (38 percent) and 9,065 women (62 percent). They were especially interested in identifying gender differences in consumption of six risky foods: undercooked hamburger, runny or undercooked eggs, raw oysters, unpasteurized milk, cheese made from unpasteurized milk and alfalfa sprouts.

The researchers found that men were more likely to report eating meat and poultry items and women are more likely to report eating fruits, vegetables and dried foods such as almonds and walnuts. Of the six high-risk foods, they found that men were more likely to eat runny eggs (8.2 percent versus 5.7 percent), pink hamburger (12.4 percent versus 7.7 percent) while women were more likely to eat alfalfa sprouts (1.9 percent versus 1 percent). They didn't find any gender differences for the other three high-risk foods.

"This information can be useful for the design of targeted interventions regarding consumption of high-risk foods," the authors conclude. "Moreover, in the investigation of outbreaks in which a preponderance of cases are among members of one sex, knowing the background rates of food consumption by sex can quickly suggest plausible vehicles."

Abstract -- Board 305
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