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Time trends in nutrient intake and dietary patterns among five birth cohorts of 70-year-olds examined 1971-2016: results from the Gothenburg H70 birth cohort studies, Sweden.

Journal article
Authors Jessica Samuelsson
Elisabet Rothenberg
Lauren Lissner
Gabriele Eiben
Anna Zettergren
Ingmar Skoog
Published in Nutrition journal
Volume 18
Issue 1
ISSN 1475-2891
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Language en
Keywords Diet history, Dietary patterns, Energy intake, Macronutrients, Micronutrients, Nutrient intake, Older adults, Time trends
Subject categories Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


Nutrition is a key factor in healthy ageing but there are still gaps in knowledge about risk- and protective factors linking diet and healthy ageing. The aim of this study was to investigate time trends in dietary patterns and nutrient intake in an older population, in order to increase the understanding of whether dietary recommendations are followed and if nutrient needs are met.Cross-sectional data was derived from five samples of 70-year-olds examined 1971-72, 1981-83, 1992-93, 2000-02 and 2014-16 from the Gothenburg H70 birth cohort studies in Sweden. A total of 2246 individuals (56% women) participated. Dietary intake was determined by the diet history method, which is an interview including questions on usual frequencies and portion sizes of food intake during the preceding three months. Recommended values of nutrient intake and determinants of healthful dietary patterns were based on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2012. Statistical analyses were performed using general linear models, student's t-test and chi-square test, stratified by sex.The intake of fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood, whole grain products and nuts and seeds increased during the study period (p < 0.0001), among both sexes. However, there was also an increase in alcohol intake (p < 0.0001), especially from wine and beer, and in 2014-16 more than 30% had an alcohol intake above recommendations. Protein intake increased (p < 0.0001 for women and p = 0.0004 for men), and 48% of the women and 37% of the men had a protein intake above recommended 1.2 g/kg body weight and day in 2014-16. The proportion of participants at risk of inadequate intake of vitamins C, D and folate decreased during the study period, among both sexes (p < 0.0001). However, vitamin D intake from diet was still below average requirement level of 7.5 μg/day for 49% of the women and 32% of the men in 2014-16.Dietary patterns have changed among 70-year-olds during the past five decades, with an increase in healthful foods and a higher nutrient density in later born birth cohorts. However, the intake of alcohol increased, especially among women. Results from this study can be useful as a basis for dietary guidelines and used for prevention strategies involving older adults in population-based and health care settings.

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