Reliable information about the nutritional status of elderly people in Germany is lacking.
To describe energy and nutrient intake of elderly people living in private households in Germany with special focus on age-related differences in the elderly.
Descriptive nationwide cross-sectional study.
: A random sample of 4020 elderly men and women living independently in private households stratified in three age groups (65-74, 75-84, 85+ y), of which 1550 participated and 1372 (789 female subjects) provided reliable 3-day estimated dietary records.
The median daily energy intake was 2207 kcal (9.2 MJ) in men and 1994 kcal (8.3 MJ) in women without difference between the age groups. Protein intake amounted to 91 and 81 g/day, respectively, corresponding to 1.2 g/kg body weight per day. The median intake was well above the recommended amount for all nutrients except dietary fibre, calcium, vitamin D and folate, where 38, 35, 75 and 37% did not reach two-thirds of the recommended amount. An age-related decline was observed for calcium intake in male and for dietary fibre, water, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, E, C and thiamin intake in female participants; however, the overall picture was unaffected by these differences.
Dietary intake in these independently living elderly, including the very-old, is adequate for most of the evaluated nutrients. Increased intake of foods rich in dietary fibre, calcium, vitamin D and folate as well as regular sunlight exposure is recommended in order to optimize nutrient supply in this population group.
German Ministry of Health.