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Multiple factors, such as aging and lifestyle habits, contribute to chronic diseases within the aging population. In the United States, 80% of individuals ≥ 65y have been diagnosed with at least one type of chronic disease. Studies have indicated that nutrition education interventions have shown positive results in increasing nutrition knowledge and healthier food selections in older adults.
To provide older individuals with the knowledge needed to help manage chronic diseases by making healthier food selections. The two objectives were to determine if: the Pennsylvania State Cooperative Extension (PSCE) nutrition curriculum improves nutrition knowledge; and participants’ attitudes toward dietary behavior changes were positive.
Study Design, Settings, Participants
This study was conducted in three senior living centers in Indiana with one site set as the control. Subjects for this study were male and female individuals who were ≥ 60 y old. Implementation of the pilot-tested, PSCE nutrition education curricula was utilized. Six lessons were administered over six weeks immediately following the senior congregant lunch. Knowledge and intent to change eating behavior tests were administered after the lesson plan, and at the conclusion of the intervention.
Sixty two participants (49% male/female) with a mean age range of 70-79 y completed the study, and 63% indicated they had at least one chronic condition. Wilcoxon Signed Rank indicated a significant improvement in nutrition knowledge of participants who completed the post intervention test (z = -2.56, P = .01). One-way ANOVA indicated that after the grains lesson plan, the intervention participants (N = 32) intent to change behavior as reported in “I will eat ≥ 3 oz of grain/d next month” was significant, P = .05.
There was a significant improvement in knowledge change. Intent to change behavior was significant after the grains intervention, but not after the other five lessons. Some seniors indicated older age > 85 y was a barrier to change since they “made it that far.” Designing interventions for seniors needs to be age specific targeting younger seniors for behavior change.
Ball State University.
© 2019 Published by Elsevier Inc.