The aims of this study were to investigate the consistency of use of plant stanol ester margarine and to characterise consistent and inconsistent users.
A cohort of plant stanol ester margarine users was established based on 14 national surveys conducted by the National Public Health Institute in Finland between 1996 and 1999. A follow-up study questionnaire was developed and sent to 1294 users in 2000.
Subjects who reported using plant stanol ester margarine in both the original survey and the follow-up study were classified as consistent users, and the rest as inconsistent users.
The study population consisted of 1094 subjects aged 18-87 years, 590 men and 504 women.
There were 357 (33%) consistent and 737 (67%) inconsistent users of plant stanol ester margarine in the study population. Consistent users were more likely to be men and to have a higher household income than inconsistent users. Both consistent and inconsistent users were predominantly middle-aged persons with a healthy lifestyle and diet as well as a history of cardiovascular disease. Healthfulness was the main factor affecting bread spread choice among 94% of the consistent users and 59% of the inconsistent users.
The use of plant stanol ester margarine is more often inconsistent than consistent. There is nevertheless a relatively large subgroup of long-term users of plant stanol ester margarine. It is important to examine the health effects especially among these regular users.
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