Understanding food vulnerability and health literacy in older bereaved men: A qualitative study.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Older people are sometimes challenged in maintaining a healthy diet but, because of age and disadvantage, are also more vulnerable to the adverse health consequences of poor nutrition. It has been claimed that older adults have low levels of health literacy regarding food and struggle to discern which foods are healthy from the vast range available in developed counties. However, nutrition and eating behaviour are modifiable risk factors for health in old age and health benefits can accrue from promoting healthy eating later in life. In order to achieve these health benefits, it is necessary to understand more about the capabilities and vulnerabilities of older people in terms of acquiring and maintaining a healthy diet.

OBJECTIVE

To understand the potential for issues around food vulnerability to arise in that group and to characterize that vulnerability, if present.

DESIGN

Narrative interviews were conducted to collect the data. An interpretative thematic approach to analysis was utilized.

PARTICIPANTS

Twenty older, bereaved men from two communities in the North of England.

FINDINGS

Five overarching themes were identified: financial security, social networks, cooking skills, food and routine and single servings.

DISCUSSION

Our findings suggest that some older men experience cumulative benefit from resources at their disposal, which contributes towards their capabilities to avoid food vulnerability.

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