Retirement is associated with a decrease in dietary quality

Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2021 Oct:45:206-212. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2021.08.026. Epub 2021 Sep 4.


Background and aim: Retirement has been associated with changes in dietary intake. We evaluated dietary intake and compliance to dietary guidelines after retirement in a population-based survey.

Methods: Data from a prospective study conducted in Lausanne, Switzerland. Dietary intake was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire in 2009-2012 (first survey) and 2014-2017 (second survey). Total energy intake (TEI), macro and micronutrients, foods, dietary scores and compliance to dietary guidelines were assessed. Three approaches were used comparing changes in dietary intake: 1) before and after retiring (paired analysis); 2) in participants who retired with gender- and age-matched participants who did not retire (two-group comparison), and 3) in participants who retired, who did not retire or who were retired at both surveys (analysis of variance).

Results: Using the first approach, newly retired participants (n = 215) increased their intake of total (median and [interquartile range]: 15.2 [13.7-17.5] vs. 14.9 [13.3-17.1] % of TEI) and animal (11.1 [9.1-13.0] vs. 10.0 [8.5-12.6] %TEI) protein; total (35.8 [32.1-40.7] vs. 34.6 [30.0-39.1] %TEI), saturated and monounsaturated fat; alcohol; cholesterol; vitamin D and fish, and decreased their intake of vegetable protein; total carbohydrates and monosaccharides, and of the Mediterranean diet score. Those findings were confirmed for total and saturated fat, alcohol, total carbohydrates and monosaccharides; vitamin D and fish intake, and of the Mediterranean diet score in the other two approaches.

Conclusion: Retirement was associated with an unhealthier dietary intake.

Keywords: Diet; Dietary guidelines; Dietary patterns; Prospective study; Retirement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Energy Intake
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retirement*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates