Vegetable consumption by the elderly

Scientists have shown that levels of vegetable consumption vary with age.  The research team observed a marked increase in this consumption after retirement, linked to the fact that retired people generally eat their lunch at home.

Fruits et légumes sur les étals du marché procençal de la ville de Fréjus (83600, Var).. © INRA, SLAGMULDER Christian
Updated on 01/04/2016
Published on 09/22/2015

The aim of the study was to describe the changes that affect vegetable consumption as age advances.  The survey was carried out on a sample of 16,000 agents working for EDF-GDF (the French electricity and gas supplier) whom they knew would be retiring between 1991 and 2009 (the GAZEL cohort).  In 1990, 17.7% of men and 31% of women stated that they ate vegetables every day.  The individuals were subsequently questioned about their dietary habits three more times between 1990 and 2009. The proportion of those eating vegetables every day increased with age, among both men and women.

Fewer than a half of those surveyed stated that they ate their lunch at home while they were working, while almost all of them said this was the case after they had retired.  The scientists observed a marked and significant change in the level of vegetable consumption amongst those whose lunchtime eating habits were affected by retirement.

To summarise, the scientists observed that in this cohort, the level of vegetable consumption rose with age.  When retirement was accompanied by changes to where people ate their lunch, this resulted in a marked increase in vegetable consumption.

Scientific contact(s):

  • Marie Plessz Nutrition and Social Sciences Research Unit UR1303 ALISS - 65 bvd Brandebourg - 94205 Ivry sur Seine

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This work was carried out in collaboration with INSERM Unit UMS 011, the Nutrition Department at Hôpital Ambroise Paré, and Université de Versailles Saint Quentin. The  GAZELcohortreceived support from EDF-GDF, the ndhe (the health insurance scheme for the gas and electricity industry).

Plessz M, Guéguen A, Goldberg G, Czernichow S, Zins M. Aging, retirement and changes in vegetable consumption in the GAZEL cohort, France 1990-2009. British Journal of Nutrition, accepted on 12 June 2015, published on-line on 18 August 2015.

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