Food patterns of elderly Europeans. SENECA Investigators.Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996 Jul; 50 Suppl 2:S86-100.EJ
To compare actual food intake of elderly people in Europe and further identify food patterns, which mediate favourable or unfavourable nutrient intakes from cluster analysis of pooled data.
Cross-sectional analysis of food patterns of participants of the SENECA follow-up study (1993).
Twelve traditional European towns.
Men (n = 647) and women (n = 710) aged 74-79 y in 1993.
Food intake data were assessed using the same validated dietary history technique in all SENECA towns. Cluster analysis was used to classify subjects into groups based on similarities in dietary variables.
A northern and southern European eating pattern emerged. The southern food pattern appeared to be the most healthful being rich in grain, vegetables, fruit, lean meat and olive oil. The north-south gradient did, however, not systematically segregate into the same clusters. All dietary profiles were represented in all sites. The four dietary profiles, identified by cluster analysis, were: 'Lean and green eaters': high carbohydrate and vitamin C intake, 'gourmands': high intake of energy and nutrients, 'milk drinkers': high intake of calcium and vitamin B2 and 'small eaters': marginal energy and nutrient consumption. Marital status, education, smoking, health status and physical activity level differed between clusters.
A north-south gradient of food patterns was identified. The southern diet agreed better with guidelines for healthy eating. A sufficient energy intake seemed, however, to be necessary for an adequate nutrient intake, beside a good choice of food types.