Fermented dairy products are the most common source of probiotic cultures in the diet. Their functional importance may benefit health and to strengthen resistance against different non-communicable diseases. This study aimed to evaluate the association between diet quality, perception of benefits consumption, and dairy fermented product intake in a representative sample of the Polish population. The study was carried out in February 2020 in 2009, men and women randomly sampled from the representative Polish population stratified for two age groups (19-30 and 66-75 years). Dairy product intake was evaluated using a qualitative frequency questionnaire. Diet quality was assessed by calculating the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS) score. Perceived health benefits of dairy products consumption were assessed with a literature-based questionnaire. The Health Concern Scale was used to measure participants’ attitudes toward health. Generalized linear models were fitted to analyse the association between intake of fermented dairy products and MEDAS score, its components, perceived health benefits, and attitude to health. Median intake of fermented dairy products was 0.8 portion/day (IQR: 0.4-1.6). Intake of fermented dairy products was associated with higher MEDAS. We observed that people with the highest intake of dairy fermented products consumed more oils, vegetables, butter, wine, legumes, fish, sweets, nuts, whole grain products, and higher preference for white meat. Frequent consumers of fermented products were more likely to report perceived benefits from dairy consumption to maintain body weight, reduce cardiovascular risk, and improve bone, immune and periodontal health. Moreover, a high intake of fermented dairy products was positively related to paying more attention to health. Our study identified patterns of health behaviours associated with frequent consumption of fermented products. We observed that the intake of fermented dairy products is associated with better diet quality, consumer self-consciousness, and a greater attitude to own health.
Project financially supported by The National Centre for Research and Development, Project No. WPC1/DairyFunInn/2019, amount of funding 1.950.000,00 PLN.