Poor nutritional status in older black South Africans
A cross-sectional analytical study was undertaken to describe the nutritional status and dietary intake of the elderly black population of Cape Town. A stratified proportional sample of 148 men and women aged 60 years and older (mean = 68.9 ± 5.7) was selected from informal and formal peri-urban settlements. The study population was predominantly urbanized, although most subjects had migrated from non-urban areas. Trained fieldworkers conducted a 24-h recall dietary assessment and performed anthropometrical measurements. Mean energy intakes fell below the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for both men and women; 27% and 36% of men and women, respectively, had energy intakes <67% RDA. Total fat intake was low and contributed 24–26% total energy. Mean dietary fibre intake was low at 11–16 g/day. Mean intakes fell below the RDA for vitamin D, calcium, zinc and vitamin B6. Less than two and a half servings per day were consumed from the vegetable and fruit group and less than one serving per day from the calcium-rich food group. Over half (51.3%) of the women and 18% of the male were obese (body mass index ≥30). We concluded that older black subjects in Cape Town have energy profiles in line with prudent dietary guidelines and more favorable than other elderly groups in the country, with regard to atherogenic risk. However, micronutrient and dietary fiber intake is inadequate, largely due to low reported energy intakes, particularly in women.