Evaluation of dietary fibre in meals-on-wheels meals in Melbourne Academic Article uri icon


  • The elderly are considered to be a group of persons who are at risk of suffering the health problems that are associated with inadequate nutrition. The delivery of meals to homes, the meals-on-wheels programme, has been an approach to reduce this risk, but there is little information about the contribution of such a programme to the total diet or to particular nutrient intakes. The dietary-fibre content of meals that were collected over four seasons from three Melbourne metropolitan meals-on-wheels areas was determined chemically and compared with the fibre content as calculated by means of food-composition tables. The analysed and calculated dietary-fibre contents of meals-on-wheels meals were 7.3 g and 6.4 g, respectively. The total daily dietary-fibre intake was assessed in recipients of the meals-on-wheels services by a three-day food-record, and also by means of a dietary history. The dietary-fibre intake was 16 g/day by both methods. Most dietary fibre came from vegetables; the fruit fibre was derived exclusively from citrus fruit, and no cereal fibre was provided, except in desserts. The contribution of meals-on-wheels meals to the estimated daily dietary-fibre intake of meals-on-wheels recipients was 46% as determined by chemical analysis and 40% as calculated from food-composition tables. The contribution of meals-on-wheels meals to a suggested desirable total intake of dietary fibre of 25-30 g/day for the elderly was 24%-29% as analysed and 21%-26% as calculated. Thus, the contribution of meals-on-wheels meals to the total dietary-fibre intake was reasonable but low in comparison with the desirable intake. Home-delivered meals could contain higher levels of dietary fibre by the inclusion of more foods which contain whole-grain cereals, nuts, legumes and vegetables.

publication date

  • January 1, 1989