The relationship between beliefs about nutrition and dietary practices of the elderly. Academic Article uri icon


  • Data were collected from home interviews of 424 noninstitutionalized individuals, 58 to 100 years old, in the Houston metropolitan area, to assess the relationships between dietary intake, socioeconomic variables, beliefs about nutrition, and use of nutritional supplements. Two-thirds of the subjects took nutritional supplements. The most common forms were vitamin C, calcium, and multivitamins. With the exception of vitamin B-6, magnesium, and dietary fiber, which were higher in diets of users of nutritional supplements than in diets of nonusers, nutrient density (amount of nutrient per 1,000 kcal) did not differ between the two groups. Attitudes toward the use of nutritional supplements, health foods, and/or nutritional quality of conventional foods differed with sex, age, income, and educational level. Nutrient intake of those with more positive feelings about nutritional supplements was higher, perhaps as a result of increased awareness of diet and health. Nutrition education that is targeted to issues of interest to people in this age group is needed; topics such as the role of nutrients in disease prevention and appropriate nutritional supplementation might be explored. This survey indicates that, although the practice of supplementation may be beneficial to augment nutritional quality of the diet for elderly people, use of nutritional supplements is not restricted to those whose dietary intake is of lower nutrient density than that of nonusers.

published proceedings

  • J Am Diet Assoc

author list (cited authors)

  • McIntosh, W. A., Kubena, K. S., Walker, J., Smith, D., & Landmann, W. A.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • McIntosh, WA||Kubena, KS||Walker, J||Smith, D||Landmann, WA

publication date

  • January 1990