Racial Differences in Eating Patterns and Food Purchasing Behaviors Among Urban Older Women

UMMS Affiliation

UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine



Document Type



Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition | Human and Clinical Nutrition | Nutritional Epidemiology | Preventive Medicine | Women's Health


Objective: To examine differences in diet and food purchasing behaviors between Black and White older women living in urban neighborhoods.

Design: Cross-sectional observational study.

Setting: Urban neighborhoods in Washington, DC, USA.

Participants: Community-dwelling White and Black women of age 65 and older.

Measurements: Participants were queried on diet via 24-hour recalls, food purchasing habits, their use of neighborhood resources and local travel patterns. Frequency and location of self-reported food purchasing and consumption were compared by race.

Results: In 2014 and 2015, 49 White and 44 Black older women were enrolled in the study. Compared to Whites, Blacks reported lower daily caloric intake (mean (SD) 1314 (404) vs. 1529 (448), p=0.02), with a higher percent of calories from protein and fat 1.8 (7.0), p=0.03), and a slightly higher polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio (p=0.05). Blacks had substantially lower alternate healthy eating index (AHEI) (33.5 (10.2) vs. 43.9 (10.8) of 80 possible points.

Conclusions: In an urban setting, food consumption and purchasing behaviors differed substantially between older Black and White women, which should be further investigated and considered to promote healthy eating in older populations.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Li W, Youssef G, Procter-Gray E, Olendzki B, Cornish T, Hayes R, Churchill L, Kane K, Brown K, Magee MF. Racial differences in eating patterns and food purchasing behaviors among urban older women. The journal of nutrition, health and aging. 2016:1-0. doi:10.1007/s12603-016-0834-7


Race, eating pattern, food purchasing, healthy eating, aging