Background: Aging is a process associated with physiological changes such as in body composition, energy expenditure and physical activity. Data on energy and nutrient intake adequacy among elderly is important for disease prevention, health maintenance and program development.
Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was designed to determine the energy requirements and adequacy of energy and nutrient intakes of older persons living in private households in a rural Filipino community. Study participants were generally-healthy, ambulatory, and community living elderly aged 60-100 y (n = 98), 88 of whom provided dietary information in three nonconsecutive 24-hour food-recall interviews.
Results: There was a decrease in both physical activity and food intake with increasing years. Based on total energy expenditure and controlling for age, gender and socio-economic status, the average energy requirement for near-old (>or= 60 to < 65 y) males was 2074 kcal/d, with lower requirements, 1919 and 1699 kcal/d for the young-old (>or= 65 to < 75 y) and the old-old (>or= 75 y), respectively. Among females, the average energy requirements for the 3 age categories were 1712, 1662, and 1398 kcal/d, respectively. Actual energy intakes, however, were only approximately 65% adequate for all subjects as compared to energy expenditure. Protein, fat, and micronutrients (vitamins A and C, thiamin, riboflavin, iron and calcium) intakes were only approximately 24-51% of the recommended daily intake. Among this population, there was a weight decrease of 100 g (p = 0.012) and a BMI decrease of 0.04 kg/m2 (p = 0.003) for every 1% decrease in total caloric intake as percentage of the total energy expenditure requirements.
Conclusion: These community living elderly suffer from lack of both macronutrient intake as compared with energy requirements, and micronutrient intake as compared with the standard dietary recommendations. Their energy intakes are ~65% of the amounts required based on their total energy expenditure. Though their intakes decrease with increasing age, so do their energy expenditure, making their relative insufficiency of food intake stable with age.