Korean J Community Nutr.  2008 Oct;13(5):620-629.

Dietary Behaviors and Seasonal Diversity of Food Intakes of Elderly Women Living Alone as Compared to Those Living with Family in Gyeongbuk Rural Area

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Food and Nutrition, Daegu University, Gyeongsan, Korea. yschoi@daegu.ac.kr

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess dietary habits and seasonal variation and diversity of food intakes of elderly women living alone as compared to those of elderly women living with family in a rural area. Forty nine elderly women living alone and forty one elderly women living with family who reside in Goryeong-gun, Gyeongbuk, were interviewed using questionnaires in summer 2005, and their food intakes were assessed secondly in winter and thirdly in spring 2006. The average ages were 74.7 years for elderly living alone and 72.8 years for elderly living with family. Tooth status and bone fracture experience were similar between the groups. The prevalence of musculoskeletal disease was 61.2% and that of circulatory disease was 32.7% of the subjects. Average of total score of mental depression of the subjects was 5.94 out of 12 points, and it was not significantly different between the two groups. Skipping meals was more frequent and mealtime was more irregular in the elderly women living alone as compared with the elderly women living with family. Consumption of dietary supplements was also less in the elderly women living alone. Food intakes by the elderly women living alone tended to be lower than those by the elderly women living with family. Dietary diversity score was significantly lower with the elderly women living alone as compared with the elderly women living with family only in summer (p < 0.01). Percentages of the subjects who have taken meat group and vegetable group were significantly lower in the elderly living alone compared with the elderly living with family during summer. Therefore, it is necessary to develop food assistance or supporting program suited for the season within a community for elderly women living alone.

Keyword

elderly women living alone; food intake; dietary diversity score; dietary behavior
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