Poster Theater Flash Session
Community and Public Health Nutrition
It is estimated that the number of older individuals in the U.S. will nearly double between 2020 and 2050 to over 80 million. This research examines eating behaviors and dietary intakes of older adults.
Nationally representative day 1 dietary data from 1,684 adults ages 60+ participating in What We Eat in America (WWEIA), NHANES 2015-2016 were analyzed to estimate eating pattern behaviors and dietary intakes. The interviewer-administered 5-step USDA Automated Multiple-Pass Method (AMPM) was used to collect the 24-hour dietary recall. The WWEIA Food Categories were used to estimate the percentage who consumed vegetables or fruits. The Food Patterns Equivalents Database (FPED) was used to calculate added sugars intake.
Results : On any given day, almost all older adults reported eating breakfast (92%) and dinner (94%) and fewer ate lunch (78%); two-thirds reported all three meals. Snacks were consumed by 94%, most commonly 3 to 4 times per day, and provided 20% of daily mean energy intake. In relation to energy, snacks provided more of the daily intakes of caffeine (33%), total sugar (32%), carbohydrates (23%), and calcium (21%). More than 2/3 of older adults consumed a vegetable, 1/3 of which were white potatoes, such as French fried, mashed, or baked potatoes. A fruit was reported by just over half of older adults, the most common being bananas (16%), followed by apples (12%), berries (11%), citrus (9%), melons (8%), and grapes (5%). Four out of ten older adults consumed at least one food or beverage from a restaurant and among these individuals, intake at restaurants provided 42% of their daily energy intake and about half of daily intakes of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Mean daily intakes of added sugars and saturated fat each provided 12% of daily energy intake, exceeding the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations of less than 10% of calories per day from each, as did sodium with mean daily intake of 3091 mg, exceeding the recommendation of less than 2300 mg.
With the number and proportion of older adults increasing in the U.S., understanding their eating behaviors and dietary intakes can inform strategies for well-being during this life stage.
Funding Sources : USDA, Agricultural Research Service