Background: Physical, mental and financial barriers among persons with disabilities limit their access to healthier diet. The present study investigated the relationship between disabilities and nutrient intake among US adults. Methods: Data originated from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 waves (n = 11 811). Five disability categories include activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), leisure and social activities (LSAs), lower extremity mobility (LEM) and general physical activities (GPAs). Nutrient intakes from food and dietary supplements were calculated from 24-h dietary recalls. Adherence to dietary reference intakes and dietary guideline recommendations was compared between people with and without disabilities and across disability categories in the statistical analysis. Results: GPAs, IADLs, LSAs, LEM and ADLs occupied 24.5%, 13.3%, 9.9%, 9.2% and 9.2% of US adults, respectively (not mutually exclusive). Only 42.3%, 11.3%, 63.8%, 47.7%, 48.7%, 9.7%, 48.7%, 90.7%, 21.7% and 4.7% of adults had saturated fat, fibre, cholesterol, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iron, sodium and potassium intakes from food within recommended levels, respectively. Dietary supplement use moderately improved vitamin C, vitamin D and calcium intakes. People with disabilities were less likely to meet recommended levels on saturated fat, fibre (except GPAs), vitamin A (except GPAs), vitamin C (except GPAs), calcium and potassium intakes than persons without disability. Nutrient intake differed across disability categories, with ADLs least likely to meet recommended intakes. Conclusions: Interventions targeting persons with disabilities through nutrition education and financial assistance are warranted to promote healthy diet and reduce disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-475
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Diet
  • Dietary supplement
  • Disability
  • Functional limitation
  • Nutrient intake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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