University of Oulu

Perälä, M., Tiainen, A., Lahti, J. et al. Food and nutrient intakes by temperament traits: findings in the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study. Eur J Clin Nutr 72, 1136–1141 (2018) doi:10.1038/s41430-018-0229-4

Food and nutrient intakes by temperament traits : findings in the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study

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Author: Perälä, Mia-Maria1,2; Tiainen, Anna-Maija1,2; Lahti, Jari3,4;
Organizations: 1Department of Public Health Solutions, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
2Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
3Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
4Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
5Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
6PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
7Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki, Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
8Vasa Central Hospital, Vasa, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2018
Publish Date: 2019-10-31


Background/objectives: Previous studies have shown that the temperament traits are related to risk factors for chronic diseases, which could be partly explained by lifestyle habits. However, little is known whether temperament traits associate with diet. The aim of this study was to examine the cross-sectional associations between temperament traits and the whole diet.

Subjects/methods: We studied 1668 men and women, aged 56−70, from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study. Temperament was measured using the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire. Information on diet was collected by a validated 128-item food frequency questionnaire. The associations of temperament traits; novelty seeking (NS), harm avoidance (HA), reward dependence (RD), and persistence (P), with diet were tested by linear regression analysis.

Results: After adjustment for potential confounders, greater HA was related to poorer diet quality, including lower consumption of vegetables, fruits, fish and several vitamins. RD was associated with healthier diet quality, including higher consumption of vegetables and intake of vitamin E and lower intake of alcohol. NS was significantly related to higher intake of fish, fat and alcohol and lower consumption of cereals, milk products and carbohydrates. No significant associations between P and intake of foods and nutrients were observed.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that there is an association between temperament traits and diet. Especially greater HA seems to associate with poorer diet quality and greater RD with healthier diet quality.

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Series: European journal of clinical nutrition
ISSN: 0954-3007
ISSN-E: 1476-5640
ISSN-L: 0954-3007
Volume: 72
Issue: 8
Pages: 1136 - 1141
DOI: 10.1038/s41430-018-0229-4
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Copyright information: © Springer Nature 2018. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The final authenticated version is available online at: