To evaluate the intake of antioxidant nutrients, as important components of the diet of the Balearic population, a typical Mediterranean type diet, as well as socio-demographic, lifestyle and dietary factors that could be associated to their consumption.
Cross sectional survey: dietary information (replicated 24-h recall) and socio-demographic and lifestyle data were collected from a representative sample of the Balearic Islands population (n = 1200, 498 males and 702 females) aged 16-65 years (response rate 77.22%). A Dietary Antioxidant Quality Score (DAQS) was computed considering the risk of inadequate intakes (< 2/3 RDI) for selenium, zinc, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E. This score (ranged from 0, very poor dietary antioxidant quality, to 5, high quality diet) was divided into quartiles. Those pertaining to the lower quartile were defined as low antioxidant consumers and compared to those in the upper quartile in terms of their socio-demographic, lifestyle and dietary characteristics.
Inadequate intakes (< 2/3 RDI) were estimated in nearly half of the sample for zinc, beta-carotene and vitamin E. Of the study population, 12.4% were identified as low antioxidant consumers according to DAQS. Pertaining to lower socioeconomic and educational level and being born in a non-Mediterranean Spanish region were the most important determinants for being a low antioxidant consumer. A diet high in saturated fat but low in total fat, fruit, vegetables and fibre also determined a low intake of antioxidants.
These findings suggest a possible departure from the traditional Balearic diet among certain groups of the Balearic Islands population, and this trend may be responsible for the observed low intake of antioxidant nutrients.