J Korean Diet Assoc.  2004 Aug;10(3):333-344.

Current Status and Management of Congregate Meal Service Program for the Elderly at Community Centers

  • 1Nutrition Research Team, Korea Health Industry Development Institute, Korea. kimci@khidi.or.kr


To investigate current status of the elderly meal service program, community centers nationwide were surveyed for congregate meal services. The survey was conducted during the month of December 2002 by mail using self-developed questionnaire on administration, staffs, funding, and meal service management. Only 95 out of 356 community centers (27%) answered and returned the questionnaires, and congregate meal menus were also collected from 20 centers for 492 days. Results were analyzed using SAS package program. In more than half of the elderly congregate meal service programs, following criteria were used in multiple form to allow participation; 65 years old or older, low income, or living alone. All centers served lunch, most of them free of charge, and 88.4% of them provided service 5 days a week. About 79% of the total cost occurred on the congregate meal service was supported by the government. Most of the menus served at congregate meal service were Korean style dish with rice. On the average, each meal provided 3 side dishes including kimchi, in addition to soup or stew. Only 19% of the centers have employed dietitian working for meal service programs; meal menus were prepared by social welfare workers or other non-dietetic personnels in more than 80% of the centers. Food purchasing and food hygiene control was also practiced mainly by social welfare workers or cooks. This study suggests that dietetic professionals are needed to better manage meal service programs for the elderly in both aspects, food hygiene and nutrition. Development of more nutritious menus and determination of appropriate serving sizes for the elderly meal service programs are necessary to meet the RDAs and dietary action guide for the elderly.


elderly; congregate meal service; serving size; recommended dietary allowances; dietary action guide; food hygiene
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