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Am J Public Health. 1995 May; 85(5): 677–683.
PMCID: PMC1615411

Predictors of dietary intake in a functionally dependent elderly population in the community.


OBJECTIVES. The aim of this study was to describe dietary intake and identify predictors of energy and protein intake in a group of high-risk elderly people. METHODS. All elderly persons receiving publicly financed home care services in the area of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, were eligible. Subjects (n = 145) 60 to 94 years of age from three home care programs were interviewed to measure sociodemographic, health, and food-related behavior variables. Three nonconsecutive 24-hour recalls were used to describe usual dietary intake. Independent predictors of energy and protein intake were derived from multiple regression analyses. RESULTS. Very low mean energy intakes were observed in this functionally dependent population. More than 50% of the study subjects did not meet the recommended levels of daily protein intake (0.8 g/kg body weight). Significant independent determinants of intake were burden of disease, stress, poor appetite, and vision. CONCLUSIONS. Results suggest that community-living elderly people with loss of autonomy may have more nutritional problems than healthy elderly individuals. Surveillance of predictors of dietary intake may enable early detection and prevention of nutritional deficits.

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