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Food Enjoyment is Associated with Nutritional Status Among Irish Older Adults Living Alone

McHugh, Joanna E., Lee, Olga, Aspell, Niamh, McCormack, Emma, Loftus, Michelle, Brennan, Sabina and Lawlor, Brian A. (2014) Food Enjoyment is Associated with Nutritional Status Among Irish Older Adults Living Alone. In: 62nd Annual and Scientific meeting for the Irish Gerontological Society, 9th - 11th October 2014, Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway. (Submitted)

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Background: Malnutrition impacts older Irish adults and is associated with unfavourable outcomes, such as physical and cognitive decline. Older adults living alone may be particularly vulnerable. In this group, many factors, such as access to transport, mobility, health status, changes to taste an smell, metabolic changes, and medication use may impact nutrition status. We wanted to investigate whether self-reported enjoyment of food would be indicative of nutritional outcome in this population.

Methods: As part of the Relate study, cross-sectional information was collected on nutritional status (using the Nestle Mini-Nutritional Assessment scale), food enjoyment (using the Food Enjoyment Scale; Vailas & Nitzke, 1998), and health status (using the Health Utilities Index; Horsman et al., 2003), among 53 adults (17 male) living alone (age range 60-91, mean age 74.4). Multiple regression analyses were performed on the data with nutritional status as the dependent variable and food enjoyment, health status, age, and gender as predictors.

Results: The regression model was found to be significant [Adj. R2 = 0.145, F4,50 = 3.114, p < 0.05]. Of the predictors, only food enjoyment was found to be a significant predictor of nutritional status [β = -0.395, p
< 0.01].

Conclusions: Food enjoyment, but not health status, predicts nutritional status among older adults living alone. Our findings accord with previous research which states that nutritional status can be impacted among older adults due to changes in chemosensory function as well as diminished appetite. This finding has significant implications for prevention of nutritional decline among older Irish adults, since efforts may be most beneficial in the promotion and facilitation of enjoyment of food.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > Welfare of older people
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: Caoimhe Ni Mhaicin
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2016 15:06
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2017 16:56

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