The diets of a community-based sample of people in their mid-thirties were compared with contempor aneous local health promotional guidelines. On this basis, 42 per cent of the sample were classified as 'healthy' eaters. However, the 'less healthy' eaters were not evenly distributed through the population. Multivariate analysis showed that, of all the vari ables considered, it was gender, household income, social class and current smoking status which were associated with 'healthy eating' status. Women were more than two-and-a-half times as likely to be classi fied as 'healthy eaters' than men; while those from higher income households, those from non-manual households, and non-smokers, were around twice as likely to be so classified in comparison with lower income, manual households and current smokers respectively.