Fruit and vegetable consumption in later life

Age Ageing. 1998 Nov;27(6):723-8. doi: 10.1093/ageing/27.6.723.


Objective: to assess levels of fruit and vegetable consumption in elderly people, and to examine the socio-economic, physical and psychological factors which influence this consumption.

Methods: a three-phase survey: face to face interviews; self-completed dietary diaries with a food frequency questionnaire; and follow-up face-to-face interviews.

Participants: 445 elderly people (aged 65+) randomly selected from general practitioner lists in urban Nottingham and rural Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.

Results: the recommended target of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day was achieved by less than half the respondents: 37% of those living in the urban area and 51% of those living in the rural area. Low fruit and vegetable consumption was particularly associated with being male, smoking and having low levels of social engagement.

Conclusions: most elderly people consume less than the recommended levels of fruit and vegetables. Health programmes promoting fruit and vegetable consumption may not be successfully reaching elderly people and need to target those particularly at risk of low consumption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*