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J Am Diet Assoc. 2002 Oct;102(10):1421-7.

A home-based nutrition intervention to increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods in community dwelling elders.

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  • 1Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.



To increase fruit, vegetable, and calcium-rich food consumption in community-dwelling, functionally impaired elderly.


Six-month, home-based nutrition intervention study.


Seventy men and women older than age 69 years were randomized to either a nutrition education intervention (n = 38) or a control group that received an exercise intervention (n = 32).


Nutrition education was designed to increase fruit, vegetable, and calcium-rich food consumption.


Food intake was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire. Fasting blood measures of nutrients and carotenoids were performed. Statistical Analysis Two-group randomized controlled trial with pre-test and post-test design and intention-to-treat analysis. Analysis of covariance to was used to assess differences between the two groups. Baseline and change partial correlation coefficients were performed between intake and blood nutrient levels. Paired t tests were conducted to test within-group changes.


Compared with the exercise group, subjects in nutrition group increased their self-reported intake of fruits by 1.1 +/- 0.2 (mean +/- SEM) servings per day (2.8 to 3.9, P = .01), vegetables 1.1 +/- 0.2 servings per day (2.3 to 3.4, P = .001), and milk/dairy 0.9 +/- 0.2 servings per day (3.0 to 3.9, P = .001). There was an increase in the dietary intake of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene in the nutrition group and this correlated with the increase in blood concentrations of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene (P < or = .02; r = 0.33 and r = 0.33, respectively).


The results of this study suggest that it is possible to improve the dietary intake of community dwelling elders to include more fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods. Recommendations for increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods should be specific and individualized to meet the dietary pattern and lifestyle of the individual. Compliance should be encouraged with record keeping as well as through continuous monitoring and positive reinforcement.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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