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Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2009 Dec;9(4):359-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2009.00543.x.

Comprehensive geriatric assessment of elderly highlanders in Qinghai, China IV: comparison of food diversity and its relation to health of Han and Tibetan elderly.

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  • 1Department of Field Medicine, School of Public Health, Kyoto, Japan.



To examine the association between food diversity and health status of Han and Tibetan elderly highlanders in Qinghai Plateau, China.


The study population consisted of 240 community-dwelling elderly subjects aged 60 years or more (176 Han elderly subjects, 64 Tibetan ones). Food diversity was determined using an 11-item Food Diversity Score Kyoto (FDSK-11). Subjects were interviewed on health status including activities of daily living (ADL), screening-based depression and quality of life (QOL). Blood chemical investigation was carried out in association with food diversity.


ADL was significantly lower in both Han and Tibetan elderly with lower food diversity than those with higher diversity. In Han elderly with lower food diversity, QOL was significantly lower in the items of subjective sense of health, relationship with family and subjective happiness, but not significant in Tibetan elderly. A close association was found between lower food diversity and lower financial satisfaction in both Han and Tibetan subjects. No association was found between food diversity and age or body mass index. Higher food diversity was associated with lower blood glucose level in Han elderly subjects, but the opposite association was found in Tibetan ones.


Food diversity was associated with ADL and QOL in highlanders in Qinghai, China. Food assessment is very important as a useful indicator to establish the actual condition of diet and its relation to health status of community-dwelling elderly as well as the change of economic background in the Qinghai highlands.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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