This study is part of a transcultural investigation under the auspices of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences, where dietary habits are studied with similar methodology in different populations throughout the world. The present paper describes and evaluates the intake of energy and nutrients, and food habits in an urban elderly population in Sweden, in relation to existing standards. The study population comprised 66 males and 122 females, aged 70 years and over (average 78 years) living in the city of Gothenburg. Energy intake was on average 11.5 MJ in males and 9.9 MJ in females. Nutrient intakes were on average above recommendations, and neither intake nor food choice seemed to change much with increasing age. A validation by a 4-day record and 24-hour urinary nitrogen determination was performed in a subsample, and indicated a probable systematic overestimation of at least 10% for protein consumed. The data from this study support the view that people 70 years of age and older in Sweden are generally healthy, active and have good food habits. This population, however, was not a representative sample. They were all living in a well defined area, with a stable social situation, and belonged generally to middle class. With this background the nutrient data seem reasonable. As long as elderly people stay healthy and do not have other serious risk factors, they seem to keep good food habits and nutritional status up into their eighties and nineties.
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