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Benefits of dietary fibre to human health: study from a multi-country platform

Raquel Guiné (Center for Studies in Education, Technologies and Health (CI & DETS) Research Centre Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Viseu, Portugal)
João Duarte (Center for Studies in Education, Technologies and Health (CI & DETS) Research Centre Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Viseu, Portugal)
Manuela Ferreira (Center for Studies in Education, Technologies and Health (CI & DETS) Research Centre Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Viseu, Portugal)
Paula Correia (Department of Food Industries, Center for Studies in Education, Technologies and Health (CI & DETS) Research Centre Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Viseu, Portugal)
Marcela Leal (Faculty of Health Sciences, Maimonides University, Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Ivana Rumbak (Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia)
Irena Baric (Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia)
Drazenka Komes (Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia)
Zvonimir Satalic (Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia)
Marijana Matek Saric (Department of Health Studies, University of Zadar, Zadar, Croatia)
Monica Tarcea (University of Medicine and Pharmacy from Tirgu-Mures, Târgu Mureş, Romania)
Zita Fazakas (University of Medicine and Pharmacy from Tirgu-Mures, Târgu Mureş, Romania)
Dijana Jovanoska (Public Health Institute, Centre for Public Health, Tetovo, Macedonia)
Dragoljub Vanevski (Public Health Institute, Centre for Public Health, Tetovo, Macedonia)
Elena Vittadini (Department of Food Science, University of Parma, Parma, Italy)
Nicoletta Pellegrini (Department of Food Science, University of Parma, Parma, Italy)
Viktória Szucs (Department of Technology and Food Chain Analysis, Food Science Research Institute, National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, Budapest, Hungary)
Júlia Harangozó (Department of Technology and Food Chain Analysis, Food Science Research Institute, National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, Budapest, Hungary)
Ayman EL-Kenawy (Genetic Engineering Institute, University of Sadat City, Sadat, Egypt)
Omnia EL-Shenawy (Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, Menoufiya University, Shebeen El-Kom, Egypt)
Erkan Yalçin (Department of Food Engineering, Abant İzzet Baysal University, Bolu, Turkey)
Cem Kösemeci (Department of Food Engineering, Abant İzzet Baysal University, Bolu, Turkey)
Dace Klava (Latvia University of Agriculture, Jelgava, Latvia)
Evita Straumite (Latvia University of Agriculture, Jelgava, Latvia)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 11 September 2017

558

Abstract

Purpose

Because dietary fibre has been recognized as a major ally to the maintenance of a healthy body as well as to help against the development of some chronic diseases, this paper aims to study the level of knowledge of a relatively wide range of people about the health effects related to the ingestion of dietary fibre in appropriate dosages.

Design/methodology/approach

A descriptive cross-sectional study was undertaken on a non-probabilistic sample of 6,010 participants. The data were collected from 10 countries in three different continents (Europe, Africa and America) and measured the level of knowledge regarding different health benefits from dietary fibre. The questionnaires were applied by direct interview after verbal informed consent.

Findings

The results obtained considering the general level of knowledge revealed a considerable degree of information about the benefits of fibre (average score of 3.54 ± 0.5, on a scale from 1 to 5). There were significant differences between genders (p < 0.001), with higher average score for women, and also for level of education (p < 0.001), with higher score for university level. The living environment also showed significant differences (p < 0.001), with people living in urban areas showing a higher degree of knowledge. Also for countries the differences were significant (p < 0.001), with the highest score obtained for Portugal (3.7), and the lowest for Croatia, Italy, Latvia, Macedonia and Romania (3.5). However, despite these differences, the results showed that for all the countries the degree of knowledge was good (above 3.5), corresponding to a minimum level of knowledge of 70 per cent.

Originality/value

This work is considered important due to the wide coverage, including so many countries inclusive with different social and cultural settings. The study allowed concluding that, in general, the participants in the study were quite well informed about the benefits of dietary fibre for the improvement of human health, regardless of gender, level of education, living environment or country. This finding is very relevant considering the diversity of people that composed the sample and reinforces the necessity of continuing with educational policies aimed at providing the general population with the knowledge that might help them make appropriate food choices.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was prepared in the ambit of the multinational project from CI&DETS Research Centre (IPV-Viseu, Portugal) with reference PROJ/CI&DETS/2014/0001.

Citation

Guiné, R., Duarte, J., Ferreira, M., Correia, P., Leal, M., Rumbak, I., Baric, I., Komes, D., Satalic, Z., Saric, M.M., Tarcea, M., Fazakas, Z., Jovanoska, D., Vanevski, D., Vittadini, E., Pellegrini, N., Szucs, V., Harangozó, J., EL-Kenawy, A., EL-Shenawy, O., Yalçin, E., Kösemeci, C., Klava, D. and Straumite, E. (2017), "Benefits of dietary fibre to human health: study from a multi-country platform", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 47 No. 5, pp. 688-699. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-11-2016-0165

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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