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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2001 June;47(2):67-74


language: Italian

Food intake and nutritional status in a group of healthy elderly residing in a nursing home

Rondanelli M., Trotti R., Magnani B., Di Paolo E., Antoniello N., Ferrari E.


Background. Aging is accompanied by a variety of economic, psychologic, and social changes that can compromise the nutritional status. Nutrition is an important aspect of healthful behaviour and a major component of general wellbeing of individuals throughout their life cycle. Nutritional intake appears to be an important factor contributing to aging. So, the purpose of this project was to evaluate diet and nutritional status.
Methods. Fifty-one healthy elderly subjects aged 70 years and older (31 F and 20 M), residing in a nursing home have been studied. Nutrient intake was assessed using 24-hour recalls; nutritional status was assessed using anthropometric measurements. The nutrient intakes for individuals were compared with the Italian Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs).
Results. Mean energy intake was 1,625 kcal; the average percentages of carbohydrate, protein, and fat were 54%, 16%, and 30%, respectively. The mean vitamin and mineral intake for participants met the RDAs except for calcium and selenium intakes. The mean fibre intake was low. The analysis of food products intake indicated that the above mentioned inadequacy in nutrient intake was the result of low consumption of milk and milk products containing calcium and a low consumption of integral foods or fruits containing fibre.
Conclusions. The significance of sound nutrition education and the adverse impact of consumer misinformation about the benefits of these food choices becomes clear with the recognition that nutritional status influences the rate of physiologic and functional declines with age. This approach will require new efforts in consumer education sensitive to the needs and beliefs of older people.

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