Consumption of fruits and vegetables by a sample of 369 elderly people living in Nottingham, England, was analysed in relation to whether or not they were eating five portions a day. Living status was only of significance to men who, if single, consumed 2.66 portions of fruits and vegetables per day compared with an overall mean of 4.1. The salient question is therefore not "Are you living alone?" but " s there a woman in the household?". Those respondents who were older and less educated ate less vegetables and those respondents who had a lower income or social grade ate less fruit. Men were less likely to be able to cook a range of meals, to have had a job that involved cooking or to watch cookery programmes on television. Single men were more likely than single women to say that eating food that was easy to cook and prepare was an important influence on their food choice. Single women on the other hand were more influenced by body image. Finding foods that were the right portion size and easy to open, prepare and cook was more important to single men than married men, as was the amount of money left after paying the bills.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press Limited.