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Gender differences in practice, knowledge and attitudes regarding food habits and meal patterns among community dwelling older adults.

Journal article
Authors Julie Johannesson
Elisabeth Rothenberg
Synneve Dahlin-Ivanoff
Published in The Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice
Volume 5
Issue 4
Pages 220-228
ISSN 2273-421X
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Pages 220-228
Language en
Subject categories Nutrition and Dietetics


Objective: To study gender differences in older adults according to practice, knowledge and attitudes regarding food habits and meal patterns. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Two urban districts of Gothenburg, Sweden. Participants: A total of 297 individuals were included, 102 men and 195 women. They were 80 years or older and living in ordinary housing without being dependent upon the municipal home help services or help from another person in Activities of Daily Life, and cognitively intact, defined as having a score of 25 or higher in the Mini Mental State Examination. Measurements: Telephone interviews regarding food habits and meal patterns were conducted. Results: Almost all participants (99%) ate their main meal at home and men preferred company at meals more often (p<0.001). Women had the sole responsibility to shop for food more often (p<0.000), and generally regarded cooking as a routine or something they just had to do. Among men, few (13%) took a great interest in cooking and 36 % of the men stated that cooking was something they were not capable of performing (p<0.000). Men had company at meals every day more often (71% vs 40%). Respondents stated that loneliness took away the enjoyment of cooking and changed their habits when becoming a widow or widower. Conclusion: Women take greater responsibility for the household than men, regardless of marital status. A large proportion of the men thought cooking was something they were not able to do. The findings in this study may indicate a possible gender difference in the need for societal support.

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