JNHA - The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging

, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 659–664

Food choice among homebound older adults: Motivations and perceived barriers

  • Julie L. Locher
  • C. S. Ritchie
  • D. L. Roth
  • B. Sen
  • K. S. Vickers
  • L. I. Vailas
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12603-009-0194-7

Cite this article as:
Locher, J.L., Ritchie, C.S., Roth, D.L. et al. J Nutr Health Aging (2009) 13: 659. doi:10.1007/s12603-009-0194-7

Abstract

Objectives

The purpose of this paper is to identify: motivations and perceived barriers associated with food choices made by homebound older adults; whether motivations and perceived barriers vary according to social demographic characteristics; and whether motivations and perceived barriers are associated with dietary quality.

Design

This was an observational study using standard interview methods where participants were administered a questionnaire and completed three 24-hour dietary recalls.

Setting

Participants were interviewed in their homes.

Participants

185 homebound older adults were included.

Measurement

Motivations were assessed using a modification of The Food Choice Questionnaire and perceived barriers were assessed using the Vailas Food Enjoyment Questionnaire. Participants answered questions regarding social demographic characteristics. Dietary quality measures of adequate intakes of calories, protein, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 were obtained from the three 24-hour dietary recalls.

Results

Mean age was 78.9; 80% were female; and 36% were African American. Key motivations in food choice included sensory appeal, convenience, and price. Key barriers included health, being on a special diet, and being unable to shop. These varied little by social demographics, except for age. Dietary quality varied according to different motivations and barriers.

Conclusion

Food choices are based upon a complex interaction between the social and environmental context, the individual, and the food. Efforts to change eating behaviors, especially community-based interventions involving self-management approaches, must carefully take into account individuals’ self-perceived motivations and barriers to food selection. Incorporating foods that are tasty, easy to prepare, inexpensive, and that involve caregivers are critical for successful interventions.

Key words

Food choice health beliefs health behavior nutrition intervention nutrition policy 

Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer Verlag France 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie L. Locher
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 10
  • C. S. Ritchie
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • D. L. Roth
    • 2
    • 7
  • B. Sen
    • 3
    • 4
  • K. S. Vickers
    • 8
  • L. I. Vailas
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative CareUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)BirminghamUSA
  2. 2.Center for AgingUABBirminghamUSA
  3. 3.Department of Healthcare Organization and PolicyUABBirminghamUSA
  4. 4.Lister Hill Center for Health PolicyUABBirminghamUSA
  5. 5.Department of SociologyUABBirminghamUSA
  6. 6.Birmingham-Atlanta VA Gerontology Research, Education, and Clinical CenterBirminghamUSA
  7. 7.Department of BiostatisticsUABBirminghamUSA
  8. 8.Department of Psychiatry and PsychologyMayo ClinicBirminghamUSA
  9. 9.The Hospital CooperativePocatelloUSA
  10. 10.Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care/Department of Health Care Organization and Policy, Center for Aging/Lister Hill Center for Health PolicyUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham, CH19 218NBirminghamUSA

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