Total nutrient intake, dietary nutrient intake, and dietary quality of U.S. older adults using various food assistance

This project determined and compared the dietary and total (food and dietary supplements) mean usual nutrient intake and proportion meeting recommendations, and dietary quality of U.S. older adults (≥60 years) who use food assistance, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); emergency foods; and community meals or meal delivery; and income-eligible non-participants. Usual nutrient intake among older adults using food assistance and income-eligible non-participants was low with high risk of inadequacy for over 50% of older adults from dietary sources for vitamins D, E, A, C, calcium and magnesium, and total sources for vitamin D, calcium and magnesium. SNAP participants had a higher risk of not meeting the Estimated Average Requirement for vitamin E from diet compared to other non-SNAP program participants (P = 0.001). Dietary quality did not align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, with Healthy Eating Index-2015 scores ranging from 56 to 61 out of 100; SNAP-only participants had higher dietary quality compared to multiple program participants (P = 0.02).  Usual nutrient intakes were inadequate and dietary quality was poor among U.S. older adults eligible for food assistance.  Risk for inadequacy was lower after inclusion of dietary supplements.



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Heather Eicher-Miller Regan Bailey