Frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption and blood antioxidants in the Caerphilly cohort of older men

JJ Strain, PC Elwood, A Davis, O Kennedy, J Coulter, A Fehily, CW Mulholland, PJ Robson, DI Thurnham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the number of portions of fruit and vegetables consumed daily by a large representative sample of older men, and to determine how blood antioxidant (vitamins E, A and carotenoids) concentrations vary with fruit and vegetable consumption. Design: Cross-sectional study of free-living men. Subjects: Men aged 55-69 y (dietary data, n = 1957; blood data, n = 1874) participating in Phase III (1989-1993) of the Caerphilly and Speedwell Collaborative Heart Disease Studies. Methods: Dietary data were obtained by semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire and blood samples were analysed for antioxidant vitamins. Men were subdivided into groups on the basis of portions per day of fruit and vegetables. Within these sub-groups, mean and 95% ranges of intakes and of blood antioxidant levels were obtained. Log transformations were performed where appropriate. Results: Only 4.3% of the men met the recommended target of five portions, while 33.3% of the men consumed one or fewer portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Those men who consumed the poorest diets with respect to fruit and vegetable intakes were more likely to be from lower socio-economic classes, drink more alcohol and be current smokers. Fruit and vegetable intake reflected plasma concentrations of antioxidants, which showed a dose-response relationship to frequency of consumption. Conclusions: Older men in the UK consume much less fruit and vegetables than current recommendations. Major difficulties are likely to be encountered in trying to meet a dietary target that is clearly much higher than the fruit and vegetable consumption of large sections of the older population in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)828-833
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Nov 2000


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