Factors that influence nutrient intakes of middle-aged and elderly Korean Americans in Chicago and its suburbs
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The purpose of the study is to determine the factors that influence nutrient intakes of middle-aged and elderly Korean Americans in Chicago and the suburban area. The convenience sample consisted of 35 middle-aged females, 25 middle-aged males, 35 elderly females, and 25 elderly males. Twenty-four-hour recalls were used to evaluate nutrient intakes; a questionnaire was used to obtain demographic, health, and dietary information. Fifty-one percent of the elderly females lived alone whereas only 4% of the elderly males lived alone. Sixty-six percent of the elderly females and 48% of the elderly males had incomes below the poverty level. Generally, subjects had low intakes of calcium and riboflavin. Consumption of foods high in sodium was common. Elderly females had the worst nutrient intakes and the most reported diseases. Middleaged females had the best nutrient intakes and Health Practices Index (HPI) whereas middleaged males had the worst HPI and HPI plus chronic diseases (EN-HPI). The percentage of formal and current smokers among middle-aged and elderly males was 80% and 76%, respectively, and 32% of middle-aged males and 21 % of elderly males still smoke. None of the elderly females smoke currently and only one middle-aged female smokes currently. The three levels of education groups differed significantly in intakes of niacin and iron, each being higher in the groups with higher educational levels. There was also a significant difference in thiamin intakes among educational groups: the lowest intake in the group with the lowest educational level and the highest intake at the middle education level. Vitamin A intake was significantly higher for females whereas males reported significantly higher proportions of the RDA for niacin and iron. Age had a low negative correlation with the number of nutrients meeting 67% of the RDA. Age was positively correlated with milk intake and calcium and iron intakes in the middleaged females. The years having lived in the United States had low positive correlation with the number of nutrients meeting 67% of the RDA, niacin, and riboflavin in the total group, whereas the HPI of the elderly females was correlated negatively with the number of the nutrients meeting 67% of the RDA and with calcium intake. The EN-HPI of elderly females also correlated negatively with calcium intake. Significantly more females reported an interest in health and nutrition than did the males. However, there was no correlation of those interests with the number of nutrients meeting 67% of the RDA in any group. Nutritional intervention and education are needed for increasing calcium intake, milk or milk-product consumption, for balancing carbohydrates, protein, and fat intake, and for modifying high salt intakes among Korean Americans. Prevention programs should emphasize smoking cessation, regular blood pressure monitoring, increasing physical activity, obtaining adequate sleep, and avoiding alcohol abuse.