Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.49(2) > 1081433

J Nutr Health. 2016 Apr;49(2):111-124. Korean.
Published online April 30, 2016.
© 2016 The Korean Nutrition Society
Comparison of dietary behavior, changes of diet, and food intake between 40~59 years old subjects living in urban and rural areas in Lao PDR
Ji Yeon Kim,1 Kyungock Yi,2 Minah Kang,3 Younhee Kang,4 Gunjeong Lee,5 Harris Hyun-soo Kim,6 Visanou Hansana,7 and Yuri Kim1,8
1Department of Clinical Nutrition, The Graduate School of Clinical Health Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea.
2Division of Human Movement Studies, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea.
3Department of Public Administrations, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea.
4College of Nursing, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea.
5Department of Global Health and Nursing, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea.
6Department of Sociology, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea.
7Faculty of Postdoctoral Studies, University of Health Sciences, Vientiane Capital City, Lao PDR.
8Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. tel: +82-2-3277-4485, Email:
Received March 13, 2016; Revised March 28, 2016; Accepted March 29, 2016.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



The current study was conducted for evaluation and comparison of dietary behavior and food intake in different regions of Lao PDR.


The survey was conducted on 979 people aged 40~59 years old living in 25 urban provinces and 25 rural provinces in four districts (VTE Capital-Chanthabuly, Xaysetha, VTE Province-Phonhong, and Thoulakhom) of Laos. General demographic information, health status, and dietary behavior were surveyed using a questionnaire.


The literacy ratio (p = 0.000), education level (p = 0.000), asset ownership level (p = 0.000), and government and private employee ratio (p = 0.000) were higher in urban subjects compared with rural subjects. The mean value of weight (p = 0.000), waist circumference (p = 0.000), and diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.009) and alcohol consumption (p = 0.000), self-rated health status (p = 0.001), and the rate of obesity (p = 0.000) were significantly higher in urban subjects compared with rural subjects. However, the rate of current smoker was significantly higher in the rural group (p = 0.023). Meals are becoming more westernized by higher frequency of eating out, consumption of fatty meat and fried or stir-fried food in urban areas compared to rural areas. Urban subjects had relatively better balanced meals compared to rural subjects whereas they consumed insufficient meals per day and consumed meals irregularly compared to rural subjects. Intake of fruit and milk was significantly higher in urban subjects compared with rural subjects. However, the intake of vegetables was significantly higher in rural areas than urban areas.


The result of this study showed that the traditional Lao diet is being replaced by an unhealthy western dietary pattern, which may be a risk factor for increasing development of non-communicable disease (NCD) in Lao PDR. Planning of proper personalized nutritional intervention and education in each area is needed to decrease the health risks of NCD.

Keywords: dietary behavior; westernization; non-communicable diseases; Lao PDR


Table 1
General characteristics of study subjects
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Table 2
Health related factors of study subjects
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Table 3
Anthropometric assessments of the subjects
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Table 4
Dietary behavior of the subjects
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Table 5
Recent changes of dietary behaviors of the subjects
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Table 6
The mini dietary assessment index score of the subjects1)
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Table 7
Food intake frequency of each food group of the subjects
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This work was supported by Academic Partnership Program funded by Korea International Cooperation Agency in 2015 (KOICA-2015224).

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