Send to

Choose Destination
Nutr Res Pract. 2017 Apr;11(2):139-146. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2017.11.2.139. Epub 2017 Feb 22.

Difference in food and nutrient intakes in Korean elderly people according to chewing difficulty: using data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013 (6th).

Author information

Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University, 116, Myongji-ro, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi 17058, Korea.
Department of Food and Nutrition, Honam University, Gwangju 62399, Korea.
Department of Food and Nutrition, Jangan University, Gyeonggi 18331, Korea.
Department of Occupational Therapy, Honam University, Gwangju 62399, Korea.



Chewing difficulty is a factor contributing to a poor nutritional status in the elderly. The aim of this study was to examine disparities in food and nutrition intakes among Korean elderly people with and without chewing difficulty.


This study utilized data from the sixth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted in 2013. The study subjects included males and females over 65 years of age who were not required to adhere to a special diet due to disease or sickness. They were divided into groups according to their chewing ability. Those who found chewing "very difficult" or "difficult", were combined to form the chewing difficulty group. Similarly, those who found chewing "moderately difficult", "easy", and "very easy" were combined to form the normal chewing group.


Of the 999 subjects, 47.7% had chewing difficulties and the prevalence of chewing difficulty was higher in females than in males (P = 0.03) and higher in those 75 years of age and over than in younger individuals (P < 0.001). The chewing difficulty group had a significantly lower intake of fruits and vegetables (P < 0.05) and lower vitamin C and potassium intake than those in the normal group. Comparison of the percentages of Dietary Reference Intakes for Koreans (KDRIs) in the two groups indicated that the intake of most nutrients (energy, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and iron) were significantly lower in the chewing difficulty group than in the normal group. In particular, calcium intake was inadequate (51% of KDRIs) in the chewing difficulty group.


The results indicate that chewing difficulty is closely related to food and nutrient intake in the elderly and can result in vitamin and mineral intake deficiencies. It is evident that the care of elderly subjects with chewing difficulty is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


Aged; elderly; food; malnutrition; nutrient

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for The Korean Nutrition Society; The Korean Society of Community Nutrition Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center