Choosing foods eating meals: sustaining independence and quality of life in old age (SENIOR FOOD-QOL)

Summary

A multi-disciplinary team from nine research centres in eight European countries has been brought together to carry out the cross-cultural SENIOR FOOD-QOL project, co-ordinated by the University of Surrey. Older people living in their own homes represent a diverse but under-researched and increasingly important population group whose specific consumer needs have rarely been evaluated. Easy access to healthy food is central to the maintenance of health, independence and quality of life.

Whilst many studies have shown that inadequate nutritional intakes are more common in older people, few have tried to identify the barriers to the effective procurement and preparation of food that occur with advancing age in those who live independently in the community. As the majority of older people live in their own homes there is a need to develop strategies, which ensure the effective delivery of nutrition in the community setting.

One of the innovations of the proposed research is its detailed examination of attitudes and beliefs of older consumers and their food preferences for products such as snacks, ready-made convenience foods, functional foods and delivered meals. In addition, access to foods and social networks to support food procurement will be investigated. The social life of many older people is focused around food. The procurement of food is an activity of social significance in all societies and an analysis will be made of these social networks and their effect on access.

The wider influences on dietary choices in advancing age across the participating European countries will be investigated. The research will inform both large and small food companies regarding future product development and innovation.

Project partners

  • Anna Saba, Instituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione, Rome, Italy,
  • Dr- Cornelie Pfau, Federal Research Centre for Nutrition, Institute of Nutritional Economics and Sociology, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Prof. Dr Maria Daniel Vaz De Almeida, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Ciências da Nutrição e Alimentaçao, Porto, Portugal
  • Dr Jesús Contreras, Universitat de Barcelona, Departamentd'Antropologia Cultural i Història d'Amèrica i Àfrica, Barcelona, Spain
  • Professor, Dr. Birgitta Sidenvall, Uppsala University, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Professor, Dr. Christina Fjellström, Uppsala University, Department of Domestic Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Dr Marzena Danowska-Oziewicz, University of Warmia and Mazury, Institute of Human Nutrition. Olsztyn, Poland
  • Prof. Dr Lidia Wadolowska, University of Warmia and Mazury, Institute of Human Nutrition. Olsztyn, Poland
  • Prof. Dr Klaus G. Grunert, the Aarhus School of Business, the MAPP Centre, Aarhus, Denmark
  • Dr Katarzyna Kozlowska, Department of Human Nutrition, Warsaw Agricultural University (SGGW), Warsaw, Poland
  • Prof. Wojciech Roszkowski, Department of Human Nutrition, Warsaw Agricultural University (SGGW), Warsaw, Poland
  • Mr Andrew Isaac, Sodexho Healthcare, Aldershot, Hampshire, United Kingdom

Papers published in refereed journals

Turrini A, Laura D'Addezio L, Maccati F, Davy BM, Arber S, Davidson K, Grunert K, Schuhmacher B, Pfau C, Kozłowska K, Dr; Anna Szczecińska A, Msc; Cecilia M de Morais C, Bsc Msc; Cláudia Afonso C, Bofill S, Lacasta Y, Nydahl M, Ekblad J, Raats M, Lumbers M (in press) The Informal Networks in Food Procurement by Older People - A Cross European Comparison. Ageing International

Dean MS, Raats MM, Grunert KG, Lumbers M, Food in Later Life Project Team (2009) Factors influencing eating a varied diet in old age. Public Health Nutrition 12(12), 2421-2427.

Kozłowska K, Szczecińska A, Roszkowski W, Brzozowska A, Alfonso C, Fjellstrom C, Morais C, Nielsen NA, Pfau C, Saba A, Sidenvall B, Turrini A, Raats MM, Lumbers M, Food in Later Life Project Team (2008) Patterns of healthy lifestyle and positive health attitudes in older Europeans – The Food in Later Life Project. Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging 12(10), 728-733.

Messina F, Turrini A, Saba A, Raats M, Lumbers M, Food in Later Life Team (2008) Older people’s perceptions towards conventional and functional yoghurts: a cross-country study. British Food Journal 110(8), 790-804.

Dean MS, Grunert KG, Raats MM, Nielsen NA, Lumbers M, Food in Later Life Project Team (2008) The impact of personal resources and their goal relevance on satisfaction with food related life among the elderly. Appetite 50(2-3):308-15 [dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.appet.2007.08.007]

Saba A, Messina F, Turrini A, Lumbers M, Raats MM, Food in Later Life Project Team (2008) Older people and convenience in meal preparation: a European study on understanding their perception towards vegetable soup preparation. International Journal of Consumer Studies 32(2), 147-156. [dx.doi.org/doi:10.1111/j.1470-6431.2007.00660.x]

Grunert KG, Dean MS, Raats MM, Nielsen NA, Lumbers M, Food in Later Life Project Team (2007) A measure of satisfaction with food-related life. Appetite 49(2), 486-493. [dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.appet.2007.03.010]

Hunter W, Lumbers M, Raats M, Food in Later Life Project Team (2007) Future challenges in day-centre food-services. Will benchmarking help? International Journal of Public Sector Management 20(5) 434-448. [emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/09513550710772530]

Kozłowska K, Szczecińska A, Roszkowski W, Brzozowska A, Raats M, Lumbers M, Food in Later Life Project Project Team (2007) Factors influencing the choice and perceptions of yoghurts among old people living in Warsaw. Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences 57(1), 115-124. [journal.pan.olsztyn.pl/show.php?id=834]

Mattsson Sydner Y, Sidenvall B, Fjellström C, Raats MM, Lumbers M, Food in Later Life Project Team (2007) Diet, eating and household work – a life course perspective of senior Europeans. Food, Culture and Society 10(3), 367-387.

Kozłowska K, Szczecińska A, Roszkowski W, Brzozowska A, Saba A, Raats M, Lumbers M, Food in Later Life Project Team (2006) Perception of convenience food by older people living in Warsaw (on the example of vegetable soups) Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences 15/56(2), 227-233. [journal.pan.olsztyn.pl//pdfy/2006/2/polish_journal_18.pdf]

Wadolowska L, Danowska-Oziewicz M, Niedzwiedzka E, Slowinska MA, Lumbers M, Raats M, Nielsen NA, Food in Later Life Team (2006) BMI and obesity incidence in relation to food patterns among Polish older people. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 15(2a), 877-884.

Wądołowska L, Danowska-Oziewicz M, Niedźwiedzka E, Słowińska MA, Lumbers M, Raats M, Nielsen NA, Food in Later Life Project Team (2006) Food patterns among Polish older people. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 15(2a), 885-894.

de Almeida MDV, Davidson K, de Morais C, Marshall H, Bofill S, Grunert KG, Kozlowska K, Lacasta Y, Martines S, Mattsson Sydner Y, Boel Nielsen H, Seltmann G, Szczecinska A, Raats M, Lumbers M, Food in Later Life Project Team (2005) Alcohol consumption in elderly people across European Countries: Results from the Food in Later Life Project. Ageing International, 30(4), 377-395.

Bofill Poch S (2005) Cuerpos inapetentes. La pérdida del apetito y la desgana en el proceso de envejecimiento en Cataluña. [Inappetent bodies. The loss of the appetite and lack of appetite in the process of aging in Catalonia] Monográfico: Alimentación, Salud y Cultura: Enfoques Antropológicos. [Monograph: Feeding, Health and Culture: Anthropological Approaches] Trabajo social y salud [Social Worker and Health] 51: 47-74.

Bofill S (2004) Aging and loneliness in Catalonia: The social dimension of food behavior. Ageing International 29(4): 385-398.

Book chapters

Davidson, K., Arber, S. and Marshall, H. (2008) Gender and food in later life: shifting roles and relationships. In Raats MM, de Groot CPGM, van Staveren WA (Eds.) Food for the ageing population. Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, UK.

Dean M, Raats MM, Grunert KG (2008) Older people, food and satisfaction with life. In Raats MM, de Groot CPGM, van Staveren WA (Eds.) Food for the ageing population. Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, UK.

de Morais C, Afonso C,Vaz de Almeida MD (2008) Older people’s consumption of alcoholic beverages: social significance and health implications. In Raats MM, de Groot CPGM, van Staveren WA (Eds.) Food for the ageing population. Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, UK.

Pfau C, Saba A (2008) Preparing meals in later life. In Raats MM, de Groot CPGM, van Staveren WA (Eds.) Food for the ageing population. Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, UK.

Hunter W, Raats M, Lumbers M (2007) Older adults. In Lawrence M and Worsley A (Eds) Public Health Nutrition: From Principles to Practice . Allen & Unwin, Sydney (background information related to project).

Lumbers M, Raats MM (2006) Food choices in later life. In Shepherd R and Raats MM (Eds.) Psychology of Food Choice. CABI Publishing, Wallingford. (background information related to project)

Niedzwiedzka E, Danowska-Oziewicz M, Słowińska MA, Cichon R, Szymelfejnik E, Waluś A, Wądolowska L (2005) Usługi żywieniowe śwadczone osobom starszym w kontekscie systematycznego przeglądu piśmiennictwa. In Gutkowska K, Narojek L (eds) Konsument zywnosci i jego zachowania w warunkach polskiego członkostwa w Unii Europejskiej, SGGW, Warszawa, pp. 307-312. (WP4 data from Poland)

Published (extended) abstracts

Afonso C, de Morais C, de Almeida MDV (2006) Alimentação em idade senior: Ecolaha de alimentos e refeiçoes para manter a independencia e qualidade de vida: A perspectiva Portuguesa. Alimentação humana 12(1), Supl. 1: 33-38.

Arber S, Marshall H, Meadows R, Raats M, Lumbers M, Davidson K (2005) Older people and food: the impact of gender and living arrangements on food consumption across European societies. Gerontologist 45 (Special Issue 2): 529.

D’Addezio L, Maccati F, Martines S, Turrini A, Saba A (2006) Food-related quality of life: explorative study on a sample of over 65 in Rome. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 10(1): 75.

Danowska-Oziewicz M, Slowinska M, Cichon R, Szymelfejnik E, Walus A, Wadolowska L. (2004) Economic restrictions and products intake structure by elderly people. Pilot study - SENIOR FOOD QOL project. Żywienie Człowieka i Metabolizm [Polish Journal of Human Nutrition and Metabolism] 31, Supl. 1: 186-187.

Gustafsson K, Mattsson-Sydener Y, Nydahl M, Fjellstrom C, Sidenvall B (2004) Managing quality of life, health perceptions connected to food and meals: results from the Food In Later Life Project. Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 8(6): 452

Heyer A, Krems C and Pfau C (2005) ‘Duteous old stagers’ or ‘satisfied minimalists’ – what are the typical patterns how older people prepare their meals? International Journal of Consumer Studies 29(4): 379.

Lumbers M (2006) Food in Later Life. Alimentação humana 12(1), Supl. 1: 3-8.

Pfau C, Heyer A, Seltmann G (2006) Mahlzeiten im Lebensverlauf – Was sagen Senioren dazu?  Proceedings of the German Nutrition Society.

Pfau C, Heyer A, Krems C, Schuhmacher B (2005) Einkaufen und Lebensmittel auswählen – Was sagen Senioren dazu?  Proceedings of the German Nutrition Society  7 , 31f.

Pfau C, Krems C, Heyer A (2005) Meal preparation: changes and problems in later life. International Journal of Consumer Studies 29(4): 377.

Raats M, Lumbers M (2004) O.6.6. The role of food and meals in sustaining independence and quality of life in old age: An EU-funded project. Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 8(6): 457.

Raats MM, Lumbers M, Food in Later Life Project Team (2006) Methods used for collecting and handling multi-lingual qualitative data in the Food in Later Life Project. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 65, 116A.

Roszkowski W, Brzozowska A, Kozlowska K (2003) Nutrition and the elderly - 5 European Commission Projects. Geriatrics and Gerontology International 3: s129.

Slowinska M, Danowska-Oziewicz M, Cichon R, Szymelfejnik E, Walus A, Wadolowska L (2004) Meals-preparing skills and nutritional status of elderly people. Pilot study – SENIOR FOOD QOL project. Żywienie Człowieka i Metabolizm [Polish Journal of Human Nutrition and Metabolism] 31, Supl. 1: 205-206.

Szczecińska A, Kozłowska K, Gulińska E, Roszkowski W, Brzozowska A (2004) Choice of functional foods (yoghurts) in later life. Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 8(6), 462.

Wądolowska L, Danowska-Oziewicz M, Słowińska MA, Szymelfejnik E, Niedzwiedzka E, Cichon R, Waluś A (2005) Text analysis and multidimensional statistical methods application for separation of elderly people's dietary behaviour. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 49(S1): 376.

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