Older Americans need more fiber in diets

April 28, 1992|By Medical Tribune News Service

Older Americans aren't asking where's the beef, but they aren't asking for fiber either, according to a study of eating habits of Americans aged 65 and older.

From 1978 to 1988, the elderly ate less high-fat beef and pork and switched from white bread to whole-grain bread, University of North Carolina researchers reported.

But while the elderly are making healthier menu choices, they still have not increased their consumption of high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and cereal, study author Dr. Pamela S. Haines wrote in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"As a whole the elderly tend to have better diets than younger people," said Dr. Haines, who based her findings on an analysis of data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in its Nationwide Food Consumption Surveys.

"They tend to consume less fast foods, drink less soda, and make better choices in their food selections. They've proved that they're pretty good at avoiding high-fat foods but they just haven't done as well at adding high-fiber foods," she said.

Dr. Haines said the entire population needs to increase consumption of high-fiber foods, which have been found to lower cholesterol and the risk of certain cancers.

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