British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Energy, macronutrient and fatty acid intake of French elderly community dwellers and association with socio-demographic characteristics: data from the Bordeaux sample of the Three-City Study

Catherine Féarta1a2 c1, Marthe A. Jutanda1a2, Sophie Larrieua1a2, Luc Letenneura1a2, Cécile Delcourta1a2, Nicole Combea3 and Pascale Barberger-Gateaua1a2

a1 INSERM, U593, Equipe Epidémiologie de la Nutrition et des Comportements Alimentaires, Université Bordeaux 2, ISPED case 11, 146 rue Léo-Saignat, F-33076 Bordeaux Cedex, France

a2 Université Bordeaux 2, Bordeaux, F-33076 France

a3 Université Bordeaux 1, ITERG, Département de Biochimie-Nutrition, Talence, F-33400 France


Few data are available regarding dietary habits of the elderly, in particular about fatty acid consumption, whereas these are major risk or protective factors of several age-related diseases. The aim of the present study was to characterise the dietary intake of a French elderly population in terms of energy, macronutrients and fatty acids based on their socio-demographic characteristics. The study population (age range 67·7–94·9 years) consisted of 1786 subjects from Bordeaux (France), included in the Three-City cohort. Dietary assessment was performed by a 24 h recall, allowing the estimation of energy, protein, carbohydrate, total fat, SFA, MUFA and PUFA intakes. Socio-demographic characteristics (age, sex, marital status, educational level and income), practice of sports and BMI were registered. Total energy intake (EI) was lower in women and in older participants ( ≥ 85 years) but higher in single subjects. Higher EI was associated with higher income, but not with educational level. Mean contribution of macronutrients to EI (protein 18 %, carbohydrate 46 % and total fat 31 %) was higher in women than men, except for alcohol. The oldest individuals consumed less protein and more mono- and disaccharides. Excess saturated fat intake (43 % of total fat), associated with a relative deficit in MUFA consumption (36 % of total fat), was observed. The mean 18 : 2n-6 : 18 : 3n-3 ratio was 9.9 and decreased with higher educational level. The present results suggest that being female, older age, being widowed and low income level could be considered as risk factors of inadequate dietary intake.

(Received November 10 2006)

(Revised April 04 2007)

(Accepted April 05 2007)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Catherine Féart, fax +33 5 57 57 14 86, email


Abbreviations: EI, energy intake