Socioeconomic status (SES) influences dietary habits, and this may strongly affect stone formation and recurrence, according to researchers at Emory University in Atlanta.

They studied 99 stone formers who completed dietary history and SES questionnaires. Subjects with a low education level had a higher calcium intake than subjects with a high education level (1,058 vs. 705 mg/day).

They also had greater intake of cholesterol (398.7 vs. 253.4 mg/day), dietary fiber (24.6 vs. 179 g/day), potassium (4195.6 vs. 2861.5 mg/day), sodium (5136.8 vs. 3050.5 mg/day), and food energy (3307.9 vs. 2051.5 kcal/day).

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Compared with subjects whose annual  income was above the poverty level, those whose annual incomes were below the poverty level had higher intakes of carbohydrates (397.6 vs. 259.3 g/day), dietary fiber (26.1 vs. 17.8 g/day), magnesium (481.8 vs. 316.7 mg/day), and potassium (4,141.9 vs. 3031.6 mg/day).

The investigators, led by Kenneth Ogan, MD, concluded that dietary counseling and modification to prevent stone recurrence should be emphasized in stone formers of low SES. Study findings appear in Urology (2010; published online ahead of print).