Seniors Need to Spend the Most on Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Researchers from Taiwan have shown there is a link between spending more of the grocery budget on plant and animal-derived foods and decreasing mortality in older adults.

The participants in this study were aged 65 years or older and involved in the Elderly Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT) conducted between 1999 and 2000.  There were 955 men and 956 women who completed a 24 hour dietary recall survey by interview at home.

The researchers collected data on 3,646 foods. To assign prices to the individual foods, they combined, categorized, and encoded similar food items so that the total number of foods was 843. Food items were placed in the same category if they had similar:

  • Names
  • Nutrients
  • Physical properties
  • Ingredients (before preparation)

Each food was priced at the retail cost per 100 grams. This cost was determined from the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture, databases from the Agriculture and Food Agency, Poultry and Livestock Products Current Trade, and the Fisheries Agency from January 1999 to December 2000.

To determine prices for foods not included in these sources, the researchers used prices from a “widely available national supermarket chain with consistent prices across Taiwan”. In this case, the 2009 list prices were used without any discounts. Supermarket prices were deflated according to the Consumer Price Index for 1999–2000.

For any foods that couldn’t be costed by the above methods, “proxy prices were used based on the lowest food prices for the same food classification, or the lowest food prices for products with similar ingredients”.

Food expenditures were broken down into four categories:

  • Vegetables – vegetables, beans, soybeans, and soybean products
  • Fruits – fruit and fresh fruit juices
  • Animal-derived foods – chicken, duck, pork, beef, goat, fish, and shellfish, eggs, and dairy
  • Grain foods – rice and rice products, wheat and flour products, starchy roots and stems, dry beans, and dry bean products

Each participant’s daily food expenditure was calculated for each of these four categories. The four categories of daily food expenditures were placed into quintiles of dietary spending. A quintile is one fifth of the sample being analyzed; in this case, it is one fifth of the total grocery budget for each participant.

Here’s what the researchers found:

  • Comparing the four food categories, the participants who spent in the fourth and fifth expenditure quintiles for vegetables and for fruits had the highest survival rates.
  • The fourth quintile expenditure for vegetable and fruit as compared to the first quintile were substantially indicative  of reduced mortality.
  • The mortality risk decreased by 12 percent for every additional $0.50 (U.S.) spent on vegetables and 10 percent for every additional $0.50 (U.S.) spent on fruit.
  • Animal-derived and grain food spending was not an indication of mortality.




~ by chasm63 on January 14, 2013.

2 Responses to “Seniors Need to Spend the Most on Fruits and Vegetables”

  1. I know a friend who was very interested on this issue. Could you let me share this on my facebook wall please?

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