A dietary survey of men and women, before and after their retirement
The impact of retirement on dietary patterns was investigated
with the purpose of making recommendations for nutrition education at pre-retirement courses. In total, 115 subjects, recruited from local employing organisations, completed a two-stage survey. Thirty-six men and thirty-three women kept seven-day records of weighed food intake and records of meal pattern, approximately six months before and six months after retirement. Non-retiring control groups were matched for age, sex and occupation; subjects in these groups similarly kept records for two separate weeks, twelve months apart. Nutritional analysis was performed using McCance and Widdowson
food tables and the contribution of defined food groups to the intakes of energy, protein and fibre was also explored. The timing, frequency and some behavioural aspects of meals were considered. Longitudinal comparisons were made using Student's t- test. The mean nutrient intakes met the UK recommended allowances but the mean energy intakes for women and for retired men were below the recommended levels. Subjects' diets were mostly higher in fat and lower in fibre than may be optimal for long-term health. On retirement, the men reduced their water intakes (p < 0.05) partly by omitting between-meal drinks. Men in the lower social class (n = 12) reduced their total food intakes and their intakes of energy and many nutrients fell significantly. The women increased their lactose intakes (p<0.05) and reduced their zinc intakes (p<0.05) on
retirement and they may have consumed relatively more milk or yoghurt and less meat. The proportion of dietary protein derived from bread was increased, particularly in the case of the men (p < 0.05) and subjects of both sexes consumed relatively more fibre of cereal origin and less fibre of vegetable origin after retirement. Meal-times were more variable after retirement and meal frequency declined (p<0.001 for each sex) although the average meal-time per day remained constant. Dietary changes were evident amongst non-retiring as well as amongst retiring subjects and were attributable in some cases to changes in health or domestic circumstances.