Nutr Res Pract.  2021 Feb;15(1):66-79. 10.4162/nrp.2021.15.1.66.

Gender and age group differences in nutrition intake and dietary quality of Korean adults eating alone: based on Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data, 2013–2016

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Myongji University, Yongin 17058, Korea

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES
This study investigated gender and age differences in nutrient intake and dietary quality of people eating alone.
SUBJECTS/METHODS
From Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2013–2016 data, 2,305 adults aged 20 years and older that ate meals alone were included in this study. Their energy and nutrients intakes, as well as their nutrient adequacy ratio (NAR), mean adequacy ratio (MAR), and index of nutritional quality (INQ) were analyzed. Food group consumption pattern, dietary variety score (DVS), dietary diversity score (DDS) were also analyzed. All data were compared among gender and age groups.
RESULTS
Men consumed more energy and nutrients than women, except for vitamin C, and the NARs showed similar gender differences. The INQs of 4 nutrients (calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and riboflavin) were lower than 1.0 in men, whereas only the calcium INQ was lower than 1.0 in women. Men had a lower DDS (3.6) than women (3.9) (P < 0.001) and had more ‘undesirable’ food group consumption patterns than women (P < 0.001). The intakes of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C were relatively low in the young-aged group (INQs less than 1.0). In the old-aged group, the MAR level was relatively low, and the INQs of calcium, riboflavin, and niacin were below 1.0. The old-aged group consumed more menu items, but their DVS was the lowest.
CONCLUSIONS
Compared to women, the dietary quality and food diversity among men were poorer. There were poorer quality and diversity patterns in the young-aged group compared to those of the older groups. An overall low intake of nutrients and the low nutrient density of meals were the main dietary problems among the old-aged group who eat alone. Therefore, men, particularly young- and old-aged, need to be prioritized in nutritional policies directed toward those who eat alone.

Keyword

Eating alone; gender; age groups; nutrition intake; dietary quality
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