To describe the dietary intake of free-living, non-institutionalised, elderly people of Palma de Mallorca, and to evaluate their nutritional status and risk of undernutrition.
Anthropometric and dietary survey (3-day food record), and risk of undernutrition (MNA-SF) were assessed in 230 (89 men and 141 women) free-living elderly people (average age 72.7 +/- 5.9 years) in Palma de Mallorca.
Prevalence of undernutrition (1% in men and 5% in women), overweight (56% in men and 39% in women) and obesity (17% in men and 21% in women) were found. Mean daily energy intake (+/- SD) was 5.7 +/- 1.5 MJ in men and 5.3 +/- 1.3 MJ among women. The contribution of macronutrients to the total energy intake was different from the Recommended Intake for the elderly, since it was too derived from proteins, fats, SFA and sugars, but in only small amounts was derived from complex carbohydrates. Animal protein intake was two-thirds the total protein intake. Dietary fibre was low. Cholesterol/SFA ratio showed dietary risk of atherogenic potential. High percentages of elderly persons showed inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, vitamin D, and vitamin E.
An increase in dietary complex carbohydrate and fibre, a decrease in fats, especially SFA, and a balanced intake of animal/vegetable proteins and fats are recommended. Dietary supplementation, especially with calcium, vitamin C and E, and occasionally vitamin D, may be useful to improve nutritional and health status of free-living elderly people in Palma de Mallorca.