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The Gender Divide Starts Over Dinner
Date:3/19/2008

of women reported eating tomatoes, compared with 32 percent of men. The same difference held for fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and nuts. Women were also more likely to eat eggs and yogurt.

However, there were exceptions to the trend. Men were more likely than women to eat asparagus and brussels sprouts, for example.

Gender also played a role when it came to mealtime risk-taking -- eating items that are known to be more likely to transmit foodborne disease. For example, the survey found that men were more likely to eat rare hamburger or runny eggs. On the other hand, women were more likely than men to eat alfalfa sprouts, which have been linked to illness outbreaks in the past.

"The reason we looked at consumption and risky behaviors was to see if there was a statistically significant difference between men and women, and if there is, this information could be used by health educators to target interventions," Shiferaw said.

Katz believes that all of this might help move people to a more healthful diet.

"The notion that men and women differ systematically, if not altogether consistently, in food preferences has long been known" he said. "The issue was perhaps never captured more pithily than this: 'Real men don't eat quiche.'"

There is value in studying the food choices people commonly make, Katz added.

"Knowing what foods men and women favor helps clarify the work required to move toward dietary patterns more conducive to overall health," he said.

More information

For more information on healthy eating, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture.



SOURCES: David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; March 19, 2008, presentation, 2008 International Conference on Emerging Infectious Disea
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