From 2001 to 2018, the quality of older Americans’ diets deteriorated

Diet Quality Decreased For Us Seniors From 2001 To 2018

According to a study published online on March 11 in JAMA Network Open, nutritional quality among older persons in the United States declined from 2001 to 2018.

Tingxi Long of Duke Kunshan University in China and colleagues used 24-hour dietary recall data from 10,837 persons aged 65 and older in nine National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey cycles from 2001 to 2018 to assess trends in overall diet quality, important food components, and nutrients.

  • The researchers found that from 2001 to 2018, there was a deterioration in overall dietary quality among older adults.
  • The mean primary American Heart Association (AHA) 2020 Strategic Impact Goals for diet score decreased by 7.9%, from 19.84 to 18.28.
  • The mean secondary AHA score decreased by 8.4%, from 34.75 to 31.83. The mean Healthy Eating Index 2015 score decreased by 5.4%, from 47.82 to 45.25.
  • Based on the primary AHA score, there was a significant increase in the proportion of older adults with a poor diet quality (50.9 to 60.9%) and a significant decrease seen in the proportion with an intermediate diet quality (48.6 to 38.7%), while the proportion with ideal diet quality remained stable and low (0.4% in both 2001-2002 and 2017-2018).

“As the fastest-growing part of the U.S. population,” the authors write, “special attention should be paid to their diets and diet-related legislation in order to improve their health.”