High fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption has been shown to protect humans against chronic diseases in elderly people. As several factors can affect FV consumption, the aim of this study was to investigate associations between the socioeconomic status and FV consumption in elderly people.
This population-based cross-sectional study was carried out on 238 elderly people, aged over 65 years and living in Marand, northwest of Iran. Consumption of FV was assessed using validated 110-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The participants were selected from seven health care centers.
The mean age of the participants was 71.7 ±4.1 years with 65.5% were males. The adequate daily consumption of FVs (totally 400g or more) was reported in 58% of the participants. Old ages and low educational levels were associated to low consumption of FVs (P < 0.05). High incomes and marriage statuses were significantly associated to high consumption of fruits (P < 0.001). High consumption of vegetables was seen in people with lower economic status. The logistic regression analysis showed that the chance of FV consumption in participants who owned a house, got married or had a high income was 3.05, 2.02 and 2.39 times greater, respectively.
This study has demonstrated important roles of the socioeconomic factors such as household income level, gender and marital and educational statuses on consumption of FVs. Therefore, our results suggest that, the future policies and interventions to improve the consumption of FVs in elderly people should consider socioeconomic inequalities.