Dietary inflammatory index scores, personal and external factors: A structural equation modelling approach


Authors: Kristen Fleet, Ian Clara, Marcelo Urquia, Christina Lengyel, and Peter Eck
Page Range: 37-47
Published in: International Public Health Journal, 16#1 (2024)
ISSN: 1947-4989

Table of Contents


Consumption of an unhealthy diet is associated with higher levels of inflammation and contributes to the development of chronic diseases. In light of this, initiatives were developed to encourage the consumption of a healthy diet however, these efforts often failed to address the multiple influences that impact diet. There is a paucity of research on factors influencing diet in the context of dietary inflammation. Objective: The objective of the current study was to examine the association between factors that influence diet and Canadians’ Dietary Inflammatory Index scores (DII). Methods: The current study used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey – Nutrition 2015 to measure the inflammatory potential of participants’ diets, using the validated measure, the Dietary Inflammatory Index. A structural equation modelling approach was used to examine the hypothesized relationships between variables of interest. To reflect potential differences in life course milestones, separate analyses were conducted on two age groups. Results: Model 2 which included the variables for sex, income, number of foods consumed, length of time since immigration and DII scores, had the best fit for both age groups. Further, the number of foods consumed was found to mediate the relationship between income and DII scores. Conclusion: This study was the first to use a structural equation modelling to explore relationships between DII scores and dietary factors, in a Canadian nationally representative sample. Understanding these relationships could inform the development of more comprehensive and effective diet interventions.

Keywords: Inflammation, diet factors, dietary inflammatory index, structural equation modelling, Canada

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