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Management of healthy eating in everyday life among senior Europeans

Authors: Pernilla Lundkvist, Christina Fjellström, Birgitta Sidenvall, Margaret Lumbers, Monique Raats

Appetite, Volume 55, Issue 3, 2010, Pages 616–622


The aim of the present study is to explore how older people reflect on, make sense of and express their views about healthy eating messages and how they narrate these responses in relation to managing their diets along with strategies adopted in terms of existing food and meal patterns. This qualitative study draws on data from 564 in depth interviews collected as part of the European Union (EU)-funded project Food in Later life – Choosing foods, eating meals: sustaining independency and quality of life in old age. The two major areas studied related to the connection between food and health and management of a healthy everyday life. Eating healthy was regarded as an investment to ensure independence was kept as the transition of old age approached, but old age could also be a reason for not bothering about it. Participants described different ways that they simplified and organized in order to manage “healthy eating”. When trying to support senior Europeans, those working in health and community services should take into account the situational context of the older person and be aware of the variation in their conceptualization of “healthy eating”.

Keywords: Food; Nutrition; Health; Qualitative; Europe; Senior; Moral