Rapid demographic aging has made caring for the elderly an increasingly important social issue in Japan. To study current conditions of the oldest elderly citizens, we investigated the dietary practices of centenarians in the Tokyo metropolitan area. First, we compared the food intake of centenarians with that of octogenarians. Next, to identify dietary trends, we investigated whether food intake by centenarians had changed significantly between 1981 and 1995. Nutritional intake by the centenarians and octogenarians in 1995 was about 60% and 75% that of the control, respectively. However, the nutritional intake of well nourished centenarians was similar to that of the octogenarians. Cognitive function and daily activity have an influence on nutritional intake. The centenarians were similar to the control subjects in their consumption of dairy products, sweets, and fruit. However, their intake of cereals, meat, fish, and fatty oils was less than 60% that of the control, which indicates their preference for soft and sugary foods. The pattern of dietary practices of centenarians in 1981 was similar. Although the total food intake of centenarians amounted to 60% of the control in 1995, energy intake per kilogram of body weight averaged over 30kcal. As to dietary trends, centenarians in 1981 ate more cereals, eggs, algae products, and legumes than did their 1995 counterparts. This finding seems to reflect a generational difference in diatary habits.
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