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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Feb;58(2):302-11.

Population dietary habits and physical activity modification with age.

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Lipids and Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica, IMIM, Barcelona, Spain.



The aim of the present study was to analyse the relation between age and both dietary habits and leisure-time physical activity, and to determine nutrient inadequacy of aged groups in our population.


Cross-sectional study.


A random sample of the 25-74-y-old population of Gerona, Spain.


A total of 838 men and 910 women were selected from among the general population according to the 1991 census.


Analysis of dietary habits, including amount and type of alcohol consumption, and detailed evaluation of leisure-time physical activity.


Nutrient densities of carbohydrates, vitamin B(1), vitamin B(12), vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, potassium, iron, magnesium, copper, and dietary fiber increased significantly (P<0.05) with age in both genders, whereas an inverse trend was observed for total fat, saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and sodium. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed a direct association of healthy dietary habits, characterized through a composite dietary score, with age after adjusting for several confounders both in men and women (P<0.001). This score was composed of folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, dietary fibre, cholesterol, saturated fatty acids, and sodium. In all, 29 and 10% of male and female subjects aged 65-74 y, respectively, reported inadequate intakes of six or more of 16 nutrients. Total leisure-time physical activity increased with age in men (P<0.002), and was not different among female age groups.


Dietary behaviours and levels of physical activity spent during leisure time indicate a healthy lifestyle of the aged men and women in the present population. Nutrient inadequacy observed in some aged men and women, however, deserves particular intervention of health-care programmes for this growing part of our society.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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