Misperception of self-reported adherence to the fruit, vegetable and fish guidelines in older Dutch adults.

ABSTRACT. In this study we investigated (the degree of) misperception of adherence to the fruit, vegetable and fish guidelines in older Dutch adults and examined to what extent misperception is associated with socio-economic position (SEP) and other demographic, lifestyle and nutrition-related characteristics. The sample included 1057 community dwelling adults, aged 55-85 years, who participated in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Respondents completed a lifestyle questionnaire which included a food frequency questionnaire to calculate fruit, vegetable and fish intake. After current dietary guidelines were explained, respondents were asked to indicate whether they believed they adhered to the fruit, vegetable and fish guidelines. Characteristics potentially associated with misperception included level of income and education, lifestyle factors, nutritional knowledge, as well as attitude, social support and self-efficacy toward healthy eating. In the total sample, 69.1% of the older adults reported to adhere to the fruit guideline, 77.5% to the vegetable guideline, and 36.4% to the fish guideline. Based on the calculated intake data, 82.6% adhered to the fruit guideline, 65.5% to the vegetable guideline and 33.8% to the fish guideline. Overestimation of adherence was most common for the vegetable guideline (18.7%). Multivariate analysis, adjusted for level of income as well as for attitude and self-efficacy toward healthy eating, showed that lower educated respondents were more likely to overestimate their adherence to the vegetable guideline (relative index of inequality (RII): 2.97 (95% CI: 1.47-6.01)). Overestimation rates for fish (3.4%) and fruit (2.3%) were lower and not associated with any of the characteristics. This study showed that overestimation in older adults was common for adherence to the vegetable guideline and especially in those with a lower education level, but not for adherence to the fruit and fish guideline.