Food shopping habits, physical activity and health-related indicators among adults aged ≥70 years

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Georgina Bentley
  • M Davis
  • Jo Coulson
  • A Stathi
  • KR Fox

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Bristol
  • University of Bath


Objective To investigate the food shopping habits of older adults in the UK and explore their potential associations with selected health-related indicators.
Design A cross-sectional study including objectively measured physical activity levels, BMI, physical function and self-reported health status and dietary intake.
Setting Bristol, UK.
Subjects A total of 240 older adults aged ≥70 years living independently.
Results Mean age was 78·1 (sd 5·7) years; 66·7 % were overweight or obese and 4 % were underweight. Most (80·0 %) carried out their own food shopping; 53·3 % shopped at least once weekly. Women were more likely to shop alone (P < 0·001) and men more likely to shop with their spouse (P < 0·001). Men were more likely than women to drive to food shopping (P < 0·001), with women more likely to take the bus or be driven (P < 0·001). Most reported ease in purchasing fruit and vegetables (72·9 %) and low-fat products (67·5 %); 19·2 % reported low fibre intakes and 16·2 % reported high fat intakes. Higher levels of physical function and physical activity and better general health were significantly correlated with the ease of purchasing fresh fruit, vegetables and low-fat products. Shopping more often was associated with higher fat intake (P = 0·03); higher levels of deprivation were associated with lower fibre intake (P = 0·019).
Conclusions These findings suggest a pattern of food shopping carried out primarily by car at least once weekly at large supermarket chains, with most finding high-quality fruit, vegetables and low-fat products easily accessible. Higher levels of physical function and physical activity and better self-reported health are important in supporting food shopping and maintaining independence.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1640-1649
Number of pages10
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number9
Early online date6 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011