Stable isotopes (carbon, nitrogen, sulfur), diet, and anthropometry in urban Colombian women: investigating socioeconomic differences.
OBJECTIVES: We conducted stable isotope and dietary analyses of women from higher and lower socioeconomic status (SES) groups in Cali, Colombia. The objectives were to test between-group differences in stable isotope, dietary, and anthropometric characteristics, and to evaluate relationships between diet and stable isotope values. METHODS: Hair samples from 38 women (mean age 33.4) from higher and lower SES groups were analyzed for δ(13) C, δ(15) N, and δ(34) S values. Dietary intake was assessed via 24-h recalls. Anthropometric variables measured were body mass index, five body circumferences, and six skinfold thicknesses. RESULTS: Mean δ(13) C and δ(15) N values of the higher SES group (-16.4 and 10.3‰) were significantly greater than those of the lower SES group (-17.2 and 9.6‰; P < 0.01), but mean δ(34) S values did not differ significantly between groups (higher SES: 4.6‰; lower SES: 5.1‰). The higher SES group consumed a greater percentage of protein than the lower SES group (14% vs. 12% of energy; P = 0.03), but the groups did not differ in other dietary characteristics or in anthropometric characteristics. δ(13) C, δ(15) N, and δ(34) S values were not correlated with intake of the dietary items predicted (sugars, animal-source protein, and marine foods, respectively). The lower SES group was more variable in all three stable isotope values (P < 0.05), mirroring a trend toward greater dietary variability in this group. CONCLUSIONS: Stable isotope values revealed a difference between SES groups that was not explained by the dietary data. The relationship between diet and stable isotope composition is complex.