Riou J, Lefèvre T, Parizot I, Lhuissier A, Chauvin P. - 46332 N - PLoS One 2015 ; 10(3) : e0119161.

Is There Still a French Eating Model? A Taxonomy of Eating Behaviors in Adults Living in the Paris Metropolitan Area in 2010

BackgroundMeal times in France still represent an important moment in everyday life. The model of three rigorously synchronized meals is still followed by a majority of people, while meal frequencies have flattened in other European or North-American countries. We aimed to examine the “French model” of eating behavior by identifying and characterizing distinct meal patterns. MethodsAnalyses were based on data from the SIRS cohort, a representative survey of the adult population in the Paris area. A clustering algorithm was applied to meal variables (number, time, location, with whom the meal is usually shared and activities associated with meals). Regression models were used to investigate associations between patterns and socio-demographic, social environment and perceived food quality variables.
ResultsFive different patterns were identified among 2994 participants. The first three types (prevalence 33%, 17% and 24%) followed a three-meal pattern, with differences in locations and social interactions mainly related to time constraints and age. More marked differences were observed in the remaining two types. In the fourth type (prevalence 13%), individuals ate one or two meals per day, often with an irregular schedule, at home and in front of the television. They frequently were unemployed and had lower income. Breakfast skipping, increased snacking and a low adherence to dietary guidelines suggested that this behavior might have health consequences. In the fifth type (12%), people also ate two meals or less per day, possibly with the same consequences on food quality. However, meals were often taken outside the home, in social settings, and individuals following this pattern were typically active, integrated, young people, suggesting that this pattern might be an adaptation to a modern urban lifestyle.
ConclusionsWhile a majority of the population still follows the three-meal pattern, our analysis distinguished two other eating patterns associated with specific sociological profiles.