Customers Purchasing Organic Food - Do They Live Healthier? Results of the German National Nutrition Survey II

Marianne Eisinger-Watzl *

Department of Nutritional Behaviour, Max Rubner-Institute, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food, Haid-und-Neu-Str. 9, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany.

Friederike Wittig

Department of Nutritional Behaviour, Max Rubner-Institute, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food, Haid-und-Neu-Str. 9, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany.

Thorsten Heuer

Department of Nutritional Behaviour, Max Rubner-Institute, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food, Haid-und-Neu-Str. 9, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany.

Ingrid Hoffmann

Department of Nutritional Behaviour, Max Rubner-Institute, Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food, Haid-und-Neu-Str. 9, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

Aims: Using national food consumption data this paper addresses issues whether buyers of organic food make healthier food choices and pursue a healthy lifestyle concerning smoking, physical exercise and body weight compared to non-buyers.
Study Design: The German National Nutrition Survey II (NVS II) is a nationwide food consumption study providing additional information on social demographics, health, and lifestyle aspects as well as anthropo¬metric measurements. Using data of several assessment tools, a comparison was conducted between buyers and non-buyers of organic food.
Place and Duration of the Study: From November 2005 to November 2006, data collection took place in about 500 randomly chosen sample points across Germany.
Methodology: 13,074 participants aged 18-80 years were divided into groups of buyers (44.9%) and non-buyers (55.1%) of organic food. According to their purchase frequency, the organic food buyers were further differentiated into intensive, occasional or infrequent purchase groups. A diet history method was applied to assess food consumption, trained staff measured BMI while questionnaires were used for social demographic description and healthy lifestyle factors.
Results: Buyers of organic food consumed 17% more fruit and 23% more vegetables as well as less meat/sausages (25%) and soft drinks (58%) than non-buyers did (P< .001, resp.). These results are more pronounced for women and for intensive buyers. Additionally, buyers of organic food exhibit healthier lifestyle characteristics in respect to smoking behaviour, physical activity, and body weight compared to non-buyers. 
Conclusion: German buyers of organic food demonstrate health behaviours complying better with the recommendations for a healthy lifestyle compared with non-buyers. Independent of the discussion whether organically produced food exerts additional health effects, buyers of organic food make healthier food choices than non-buyers, thereby benefiting for their overall health.

Keywords: Food consumption survey, organic food, food choice, healthy lifestyle.


How to Cite

Eisinger-Watzl, M., Wittig, F., Heuer, T., & Hoffmann, I. (2014). Customers Purchasing Organic Food - Do They Live Healthier? Results of the German National Nutrition Survey II. European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, 5(1), 59–71. https://doi.org/10.9734/EJNFS/2015/12734

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