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Open AccessArticle

On Your Own: Older Adults’ Food Choice and Dietary Habits

School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(4), 413;
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 20 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Ageing)
The United Kingdom, in common with many countries, has an ageing demographic. Changes accompanying ageing can influence food choice and dietary habits. This study explored older adults’ perceptions and practices related to dietary behaviour and the factors influencing their food choice in later life. Semi-structured focus-group discussions were conducted with 30 individuals (aged 63–90 years) in a UK city. An inductive thematic approach was adopted for data analysis, and 4 themes and 12 sub-themes emerged: age-related changes (lower appetite, food changes, declining physical function); food access (food cost, support with food, maintaining independence); on your own (cooking for one, eating alone, shopping for one); and relationship with food (food variety, eating what you want, dieting). These influenced participants’ food acquisition, food preparation and cooking, as well as eating habits. Living alone and its substantial influence, as well as associated social isolation and loneliness, were highlighted in many of the discussions. Given the possible implications for nutritional intake, further work is recommended in this area. Likewise, steps should be taken to improve food access, increase opportunities for commensal eating and, fundamentally, address social isolation and loneliness in the older population. View Full-Text
Keywords: older adults; food choice; qualitative methodology; ageing; loneliness older adults; food choice; qualitative methodology; ageing; loneliness
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Whitelock, E.; Ensaff, H. On Your Own: Older Adults’ Food Choice and Dietary Habits. Nutrients 2018, 10, 413.

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