Gender differences in practice: knowledge and attitudes regarding food habits and meal patterns among community dwelling older adults

J. Johannesson, Elisabet Rothenberg, S. Dahlin Ivanoff, F. Slinde

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Abstract

Objective: To study gender differences in older adults according to practice, knowledge and attitudes regarding food habits and meal patterns. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Two urban districts of Gothenburg, Sweden. Participants: A total of 297 individuals were included, 102 men and 195 women. They were 80 years or older and living in ordinary housing without being dependent upon the municipal home help services or help from another person in Activities of Daily Life, and cognitively intact, defined as having a score of 25 or higher in the Mini Mental State Examination. Measurements: Telephone interviews regarding food habits and meal patterns were conducted. Results: Almost all participants (99%) ate their main meal at home and men preferred company at meals more often (p<0.001). Women had the sole responsibility to shop for food more often (p<0.000), and generally regarded cooking as a routine or something they just had to do. Among men, few (13%) took a great interest in cooking and 36 % of the men stated that cooking was something they were not capable of performing (p<0.000). Men had company at meals every day more often (71% vs 40%). Respondents stated that loneliness took away the enjoyment of cooking and changed their habits when becoming a widow or widower. Conclusion: Women take greater responsibility for the household than men, regardless of marital status. A large proportion of the men thought cooking was something they were not able to do. The findings in this study may indicate a possible gender difference in the need for societal support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Aging Research & Clinical Practice
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Geriatrics (30222)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics (30304)

Keywords

  • Aged 80 and over
  • food habits
  • household responsibilities
  • lived experience
  • nutritional status

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