Intake of fruits and vegetables in older adults with and without diabetes
Goetz, Joy Ruth
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This study examined differences in knowledge of fruit and vegetable recommendations, intake of fruits and vegetables, and barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption in congregate meal recipient with and without diabetes. Participants were a convenience sample of older adults (N = 776, mean age = 75, 85 percent female, 45 percent white, 54 percent black) from 39 senior centers throughout Georgia who participated in a nutrition education intervention. The pre-tests included questions about fruit and vegetable consumption at various mealtimes, knowledge of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans fruit and vegetable recommendations, and barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption. Participants with diabetes were likely to be younger, have a higher BMI, and have a lower rating of overall health than participants without diabetes. No difference was found between groups in knowledge of the recommendations or the total daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Those in the diabetes group consumed 0.1 more servings of fruits and vegetables (P = 0.04) and 0.2 more servings of vegetables (P = 0.01) at the evening meal than those in the nondiabetes group. Predictors of low fruit and vegetable intake for those with diabetes included white race, lower education, physical inactivity, lack of knowledge about recommendations, presence of digestive problems, and the perception that eating fruits and vegetables is too much trouble. This indicates that senior center participants have the same degree of knowledge regardless of their diabetes status, but those with diabetes are likely to consume more fruits and vegetables and encounter different barriers to consuming them. Nutrition educators and diabetes educators could use this information to plan future diabetes management programs and community interventions that address barriers specific to older adult populations with and without diabetes.