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A20. Health and social factors affecting the food choices and nutritional intake of elderly people with restricted mobility

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Background Little is known about the magnitude of health and social factors which affect the food choices and nutritional intake of elderly people with restricted mobility.

Aims The aim of this study was to investigate food choices in this population group.

Methods Semi structured taped interviews were used to capture expressions used in the indentification of health and social factors which affect food choices and nutritional intake of 12 female subjects and three male subjects over the age of 65 (age range 67–91¬†years, mean 80.6¬†years) living in the community with restricted mobility. Twenty‐four hour recall method of dietary assessment was undertaken in order to establish their dietary intake and meal patterns.

Results Intakes of fluid, fruit and vegetables and non starch polysaccharide were found to be inadequate. In addition, there was an infrequent consumption of cooked meals. Health and social factors which affect the food choices and nutritional intake in this group of the elderly population were identified as being inadequate money, inadequate food storage facilities, physical disabilities affecting food preparation, poor access to shops, difficulties in shopping, type of cooking facilities, loneliness and bereavements.

The dietary intake and food choices of the elderly population have often been shown to be affected by a combination of health, social and psychological factors which include living alone, being house bound, having swallowing difficulties and suffering from depression ( Davies and Knutson, 1991). The findings of this study further support such findings and highlighted three areas that affected the nutritional intake of a group of elderly people with restricted mobility. These were social (loneliness, bereavement), economic (budget for food, access to Social services) and physical (difficulties in shopping, preparing and cooking foods).

Conclusions It was concluded that elderly people living in the community with restricted mobility may be unable to consume an optimum nutritional intake due to the health and social factors were identified by this study which affect their food choices and nutritional intake.
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Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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