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J Am Diet Assoc. 1992 Mar;92(3):325-30.

Meat, poultry, and fish consumption and nutrient intake in the healthy elderly.

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  • 1Department of Health Promotion, Physical Education and Leisure Programs, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.


Food selection of the healthy elderly may be influenced by life-styles, the food supply, and recommendations related to diet and disease. This study used food group analysis of 3-day diet records to examine red meat, poultry, and fish consumption by free-living, healthy elderly individuals. Dietary data were from 122 women and 97 men (median age = 75 years) who were participants in the New Mexico Aging Process Study in 1984. Mean dietary intake was 1,494 kcal/day for women and 2,079 kcal/day for men--82% and 94% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), respectively. Protein, iron, and selected B vitamins were above 100% of the RDA. Women's mean daily intake of meat/poultry/fish was 87.7 g (52.1 g meat, 23.6 g poultry, 12.0 g fish); men's intake of meat/poultry/fish was 121.2 g (78.4 g meat, 21.2 g poultry, 21.6 g fish). Of the total red meat, more than 50% was beef, 20% was pork/ham, and more than 10% was processed meat. For women, meat/poultry/fish provided 14% of total dietary energy, 37% of protein, 13% to 32% of selected B vitamins and iron, 20% of fat, and 34% of cholesterol. Percentages were similar for men. There was no significant association between age and total dietary intake, but food group consumption had distinct associations with age for women and men. Our findings indicate that a moderate but not excessive intake of meat/poultry/fish made a substantial contribution to nutrient intake. The fat contribution of these food groups could be decreased by emphasizing lower-fat selections of meat, poultry, and fish.

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