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Forum Nutr. 2005;(57):44-51.

Age and gender dependent profile of food choice.

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  • 1Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Department of Nutrition and Home Economics, Hamburg, Germany. joachim@westenhoefer.de

Abstract

Several studies have described remarkable differences in food choice between men and women. Consistently, women are reported to have higher intakes of fruit and vegetables, higher intakes of dietary fiber and lower intakes of fat. In accordance with such more healthy food choice, women usually attach greater importance to healthy eating. In addition, the motivation of weight control is more prominent in women and they are more likely to diet or restrain their eating behavior. Recently, studies found that health beliefs and weight control motivation may explain up to 50 percent of gender differences in food choice. In addition, less healthy food choice profiles of men may be related to their poorer nutritional knowledge. However, health beliefs, eating attitudes and dieting appear to be phenomena which vary throughout the life span. In growing older, changes in the chemosensory perceptual systems play an important role in food choice. The decline of gustatory and--perhaps even more pronounced--in olfactory function may lead to a decrease of the pleasantness of food, thus limiting the reinforcing properties of food intake which eventually results in a decrease of appetite, often reported in elderly people. In addition, there are some indications that sensory-specific satiety diminishes with age. Sensory-specific satiety is the reduction in the pleasantness of food as it is consumed. This decrease of pleasantness usually motivates the choice of other foods and therefore, a varied diet. Therefore, the decrease of sensory-specific satiety may in part explain the limited variety of the diet sometimes seen in elderly people. However, lifestyle, socio-economic situation and other variables may limit the influence of such physiological changes and help to maintain an adequate food intake despite these age-related processes.

PMID:
15702587
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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