Dietary intake analysis in institutionalized elderly: a focus on nutrient density

J Nutr Health Aging. 2002;6(4):237-42.


Background: Inadequate food intake in old age can lead to marginal or suboptimal nutrient intakes causing the deterioration of physiological and health states.

Objective: To describe, by intake assessment, nutritional status of institutionalized elderly and to compare the data to other studies findings.

Design: Dietary intake was assessed in 50 (18 males, 32 females, average age 84 6 years) institutionalized elderly according to data collected by using structured food frequency questionnaires based on the institutional kitchen recipes, weekly menu and portion size.

Results: Daily energy intake was 1.91 0.48 Mcal and energy density was 4.97 kcal/g dry matter. Energy derived from protein and fat was 15.1% and 35.4%, respectively. Dietary fiber consumption was very low, 3.92 g/Mcal. Calcium intake of all of the subjects, and magnesium, zinc and copper intakes of most of them, were low. Iron intake of almost all of the subjects was sufficient or above RDA. Intake of vitamins D, E, B6, thiamin (vitamin B1) and folic acid in all or most of the subjects was low. In almost all of the 39 studies and reviews, including ours, densities of at least two nutrients did not meet the calculated RDA density. Particularly low were the nutrient densities of vitamins C and E, thiamin, vitamin B6, folic acid and vitamin D, as well as of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.

Conclusion: Supplementation with half the RDA of micronutrients (except for vitamin A and iron) may result in micronutrient intakes that are higher than two-thirds of the RDA.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Diet Surveys*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Institutionalization*
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Potassium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Minerals
  • Potassium, Dietary
  • Vitamins