To provide the evidence base for targeted nutrition policies to reduce the risk of micronutrient/diet-related diseases among disadvantaged populations in Europe, by focusing on: folate, vitamin B12, Fe, Zn and iodine for intake and status; and vitamin C, vitamin D, Ca, Se and Cu for intake.
MEDLINE and Embase databases were searched to collect original studies that: (i) were published from 1990 to 2011; (ii) involved >100 subjects; (iii) had assessed dietary intake at the individual level; and/or (iv) included best practice biomarkers reflecting micronutrient status. We estimated relative differences in mean micronutrient intake and/or status between the lowest and highest socio-economic groups to: (i) evaluate variation in intake and status between socio-economic groups; and (ii) report on data availability.
Children, adults and elderly.
Data from eighteen publications originating primarily from Western Europe showed that there is a positive association between indicators of socio-economic status and micronutrient intake and/or status. The largest differences were observed for intake of vitamin C in eleven out of twelve studies (5-47 %) and for vitamin D in total of four studies (4-31 %).
The positive association observed between micronutrient intake and socio-economic status should complement existing evidence on socio-economic inequalities in diet-related diseases among disadvantaged populations in Europe. These findings could provide clues for further research and have implications for public health policy aimed at improving the intake of micronutrients and diet-related diseases.