Given the known health benefits of whole grains (WG) in promoting overall health, as well as the low intake of WG products by low-income older adults, there is a need for developing effective health promotion programs targeting low-income older adults promoting WG consumption
To gain an in-depth understanding of low-income older adults’ underlying beliefs regarding WG consumption using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) as a framework.
Study Design, Setting, Participants
In this qualitative study, interview questions regarding WG consumption were structured according to the TPB constructs (behavioral, normative, and control beliefs). The setting was 2 congregate meal sites located in Tuscaloosa, AL. A convenience sample of 25 low-income older adults, 60 years of age and older, participated in this study.
Individual interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and cross-checked for consistency. Content analysis was used to identify themes pertaining to the TPB constructs in addition to other prevalent themes.
Participants believed WGs were nutritious and had health benefits, but disliked sensory qualities, perceived higher cost, and longer cooking time. Participants also believed healthcare professionals and family would support WG consumption. Facilitators to WG consumption included knowledge of nutritional and health benefits, WG preparation skills, social support, availability and accessibility, and grocery shopping assistance. Barriers to WG consumption included cost of WGs, age-related physical changes such as chewing and swallowing, lack of motivation to prepare WG, and nutrition-related knowledge deficits.
Findings from this study provide strategies for nutrition education programs to promote increased WG consumption by low-income older adults, ultimately influencing the health status of this population.