High consumption foods and their influence on energy and protein intake in institutionalized older adults

R. Mila, R. Abellana, L. Padro, J. Basulto, A. Farran

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The elderly, and especially those attending nursing homes, are at great risk from certain nutritional deficiencies. Objective: The aim of this study was to determine which food groups present the highest rates of consumption among the institutionalized elderly and study the energy density of each food group and the number of calories and amount of protein in the total diet of each resident. Design: This was a multicentre observational study of a sample of the institutionalized population over the age of 65. The sample of patients was drawn from four spanish nursing homes (Santa Coloma Gramanet, Barcelona, Madrid and Bilbao). Óur final sample comprised a total of 62 individuals, of whom 22 were men and 40 women, aged between 68 and 96 years. Methods: Dietary data were collected using the double weight method for each main meal (breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner), including food type, the quantity of food served and the amount of plate waste for each of the main meals served during 21 days. Statistical analyses: The characteristics of the study population were compared by student's t-test and χ2 test. The results are expressed in terms of their median values and the interquartile range. To analyse the overall differences between sites, gender and food groups we used Kruskall- Wallis test combined with the Mann-Whitney u-test with bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. Results: The food group that was served most was milk products (376.25 g/day). A large amount of potatoes were also served (109.64 g/day) as were sweets and pastries (62.14 g/day). The daily serving of fruit (138.34 g/day) and vegetables (239.47 g/day) was equivalent to no more than that of a daily ration in each case. Milk was the food group with the highest consumption (311 g/day). Most of the energy was provided by groups with a higher energy density like as fats and sauces, sweets and pastries and bread. The mean protein consumption was 82,6 g/day (table 5) and no significant differences were recorded in this consumption between men and women. Conclusions: We conclude that there is a need to improve the residents' energy intake and to redistribute their energy and protein intake among the various food groups. An alternative to increasing food portions so as to improve energy intake might involve enriching certain food types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Energy intake
  • Food consumption
  • Institutionalized elderly
  • Protein intake


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