Healthy Eating Index scores among adults, 60 years of age and over, by sociodemographic and health characteristics: United States, 1999-2002.Adv Data. 2008 May 20AD
This report presents Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores for adults, 60 years of age and over, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1999-2002, and examines the association between the HEI scores and sex, age, race and ethnicity, education, smoking status, tooth retention, self-reported health, and body mass index (BMI).
The percentage of older adults meeting the recommendations for the HEI components and dietary quality based on the overall score were estimated. Means and standard errors were calculated for selected sociodemographic and health characteristics for the total population and stratified by sex. A two-tailed t-test or analysis of variance was used to test the effects of the sociodemographic and health characteristics on the HEI scores. When a characteristic consisted of three levels, the Bonferroni method of adjustment was used to assess significant differences in the mean scores.
Seventy-two percent of older adults met the guidelines for cholesterol intake and 56% met the recommendation for diet variety, but less than one-third met the recommendations for HEI's five food groups. Only 17% of older adults consumed a "good" quality diet. Males had higher scores for some components, but females had higher scores for others. Age significantly influenced several HEI components, but not in a consistent fashion. Non-Hispanic white persons usually had the highest scores and non-Hispanic black persons had the lowest scores. Adults with more years of education usually had higher scores but smokers usually had lower scores. Edentulous persons and those who rated their health as fair or poor generally ate fewer servings of fruits and vegetables, ate a less varied diet, and had a poorer quality diet than persons with teeth or who rated their health higher. Females with a BMI of 30 or higher ate fewer servings of dairy products, consumed a higher percentage of calories from total and saturated fat, and had a lower quality diet than those whose BMI was less than 30.
This research demonstrates that many older adults' diets need improvement, and that many sociodemographic and health characteristics were associated with their intake of food and nutrient groups and overall dietary quality.