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Diet of people over 70 could be better

People aged over 70 living independently eat more unhealthy saturated fatty acids and salt and eat less fruit, fewer wholegrain products and less fish than the recommendations. Therefore, the same recommendations relating to improvements in diet apply to them as to the rest of the population. These are the findings of an RIVM study into the eating habits of people aged over 70 who live independently.

Vitamin D

In order to reduce the risk of falls and bone fractures the Dutch Health Council recommends that people aged 70 and over take extra vitamin D every day. Almost all people aged over 70 consume too little vitamin D in their diet. Nevertheless only 18% of men and 26% of women take extra vitamin D. Even when vitamin D from supplements are also taken into account, 91% of women and 95% of men aged over 70 have a vitamin D deficiency.

Comparison of diet

The study also shows that people aged over 70 mainly eat and drink at home. Compared with people in their fifties and sixties they eat considerably less meat, bread and other grain products and drink fewer alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. In general people aged over 70 eat more fruit, sugar, confectionary, oils and spreads than people in their fifties and sixties.

About the study

The food consumption survey contains detailed data about what, where and when older people living independently eat and drink and is part of the national dietary monitoring system. The data contribute to the development of policy for a healthy diet and safe food, product innovation, information and dietary research. Over 700 older people from 15 municipalities across the country participated in the study.

More information
Dutch National Food Consumption Survey
Report: Diet of community-dwelling older adults