Nutrition Education in Elderly Nutrition Programs by Using the USDA Technical
Paper: Nutrition Education For Older Adults: A Review of Research(1)
paper provides valuable information and suggestions for nutrition project
professionals and consultants to improve nutrition education approaches
and more effectively reach older adults. The authors have summarized the
available information in an uncomplicated and easy-to-read manner while
noting that relatively little has been published addressing effectiveness
of nutrition education for elders.
literature review provides a theoretical context regarding nutrition education.
In addition, there are synopses of several studies that address the effectiveness
of nutrition education. Finally, helpful suggestions are offered to better
reach adult learners. Some suggestions include experiential learning components
and targeting messages to defined segments of the older adult population.
Americans Act (OAA) program providers can use the reviews and suggestions
in this technical paper to refine the nutrition education messages and
delivery mechanisms to more appropriately meet the learning needs of their
elderly clients. Elders are known to be an eager audience for health information
and tend to be active in community health promotion programs. Therefore,
nutrition education programs or projects should be well received by this
population especially if they are tailored to their needs.
technical paper will serve as a review for many nutrition project professionals
and consultants. They should be able to glean concepts and ideas to enhance
and improve nutrition education and then design programs or share suggestions
with individual project personnel.
suggestions for improving the effectiveness of nutrition education are:
elder focus groups in the planning stage to explore
to make the program useful.
facilitate adult interactive involvement in learning, and
promote active learning through experience / practice.
and target elders by
continuity and feedback.
education must also be culturally appropriate. A "one size fits all"
program is not usually effective. To target different segments, use print
and broadcast media, nutrition contests, table tents in the dining room,
group nutrition education classes, clinic based programs, nutritious potluck
dinners, etc. Other innovative approaches include nutrition-through-gardening
and computerized programs. Many ideas and suggestions could be successfully
implemented with various groups, including home-delivered and congregate
few early studies using the Nutrition Screening Initiative materials are
reviewed and unfortunately do not demonstrate the full potential of incorporating
nutrition screening and awareness into learning programs. However, projects
interested in developing nutrition screening and awareness programs can
use many learning methods described in the paper.
in all, this review is clear, concise and full of useful information and
suggestions that can be adopted to improve nutrition education in projects
and programs serving diverse segments of the elder population.
Maloney SK, White SL. Nutrition education for older adults: A review of
research. Alexandria, VA: US Dept of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Service,
Office of Analysis and Evaluation. September 1994.
by Carmen Brain and Dian Weddle 4/96
National Policy and Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging was established
under the federal Administration on Aging Nutrition/Malnutrition Initiative
to reduce malnutrition and improve food security among American elders.
The Center works with the AoA to provide national leadership in Aging
and Nutrition Networks by placing food and nutrition services in the mainstream
of home and community based social, health and long-term care delivery
systems serving elders. Reflecting national cost containment trends, the
Center is dedicated to (1) risk-based outreach to serve the most nutritionally
needy elders, (2) expansion of nutrition services in aging programs to
reduce malnutrition, and (3) multidisciplinary nutrition care management
to improve quality of life, promote independence, and decrease early nursing
home admissions and hospitalizations. The Center develops, collects and
disseminates information, such as this review of the USDA technical paper
Nutrition Education for Older Adults: A Review of Research, and trains
nutrition and aging providers.
S Wellman, PhD, RD, FADA, Director Dian O Weddle, PhD, RD, FADA, Associate