Barriers and facilitators to healthy eating and disease self-management among older adults residing in subsidized housing.

Authors: Petroka K, Campbell-Bussiere R, Dychtwald DK, Milliron BJ


Nutr Health. 2017 Jan 01;:260106017722724

BACKGROUND: As adults transition into older ages, meeting age-specific dietary recommendations can become increasingly challenging, especially for low-income seniors who reside in publicly subsidized rental housing.
AIM: The primary objectives of this study were to: 1) identify barriers and facilitators to healthy eating and self-management of nutrition-related chronic illnesses experienced by low-income seniors residing in a subsidized housing setting; and 2) assess the interest in community nutrition programming among low-income seniors residing in a subsidized housing setting.
METHOD: A qualitative study design, using food focus groups and food pantry observations, was used. Participants included 24 male and female senior adults, between 65 and 75 years of age, residing in a subsidized housing community in Philadelphia, PA. This setting also included the unique features of a community garden and food pantry. Data were manually analyzed using a content analysis approach, which included familiarization, identification of themes, categorization and interpretation; and verified using NVivo 10.
RESULTS: Personal barriers, including food cost and accessibility, physical limitations, desire for convenience, and low self-efficacy to change dietary habits, inhibited motivation to change. External barriers in the food environment, including lack of transportation and distance of markets to access fresh produce, were commonly cited; as well as negative influences of the internal environment, such as the presence of vending machines, common cultural cooking and eating practices, and the lack of social cohesion. Facilitators focused on food preparation and recipe adaptation.
CONCLUSIONS: Participants expressed an interest in learning more about food, nutrition, and health through community-based programming.



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