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Ann Epidemiol. 1994 Sep;4(5):404-15.

Eating patterns of community-dwelling older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study.

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Center for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey.


We analyzed eating patterns of 4643 adults (1988 men and 2655 women) aged 65 years and older at the time of their enrollment in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Diet was assessed with a qualitative, picture-sort food frequency questionnaire along with supplemental questions on other eating pattern variables. Consumption of high fat foods and low fiber foods was more frequent in older participants, men, minorities, and persons with body mass index > or = 30 kg/m2 and less common among persons who reported following self-prescribed or medically prescribed special diets. Few associations of consumption of specific food groups with disease status were identified. Participants with coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease were significantly more likely to report following a special diet and using low-calorie or low-sodium food products, however. Although the percentage of participants with prevalent disease who reported following special diets was relatively low from a clinical perspective, it was sufficiently high to suggest that controlling for dietary modifications may be important when attempting to identify associations of diet with prevalent disease in older populations.

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