Objective: Evaluation of the nutritional status of an elderly cohort from a French Mediterranean area.
Design: Cross-sectional nutritional assessment in the framework of the population-based POLA cohort.
Subjects and methods: 832 subjects aged 70 years or older answered a 165-item, semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Mean Nutritional Need (MNN) was defined as 77% of the French Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The risk for clinical deficiency (CD) was defined as intakes lower than the Limit Threshold Intake (70% of the MNN).
Results: Consumption was characterized by an excess of saturated fatty acids (SFA) (95.4% of subjects above the RDA) and a deficit of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) (60.1% and 46.9% of subjects at risk for CD for alpha-linolenic (ALA) and long-chain omega-3 PUFA, respectively). Median intakes of fiber, vitamins B6, B9, and D, calcium, and magnesium were below the RDA. Dairy products were the first providers of SFA, nuts of ALA, and fish of long-chain omega-3 PUFA and vitamin D.
Conclusion: The study identified an unbalanced food intake, with an excess of mammal animal products, mainly of dairy products, and a deficit of fish and vegetal foods. This resulted in a deficiency in some vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 PUFA.