Food, nutrition, and older people living in rural communities

Julie Reis, Judy Nagy

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


As is the case with many western countries, the Australian population is becoming increasingly aged, with research indicating this situation as being more pronounced in rural areas. In rural communities, older people have been identified as being at a higher nutritional risk than their city counterparts. Nutrition is affected by physiological, psychological, socioeconomic and social factors. For older rural people, socioeconomic disadvantages are exacerbated not only due to factors associated with ageing, but also due to ‘determinants of health’ such as disengagement from the workforce, reduced income, lack of transport, and more limited access to services such as health and aged care services. In addition, changes in family and community relationships (for example loss of a spouse, children leaving to work in cities and retirement) impact upon the ability of individuals to cope with day to day tasks. These issues contribute to the context for considering how socialisation around food consumption and preparation impact well-being for rural older adults. Whilst literature recognises the importance of social factors in the nutrition of older people, particularly in aged-care facilities, there has been little focus on the social context of food on the nutritional status and general wellbeing of older people in rural communities. This chapter will discuss preliminary findings from research that explores the food habits of older people living in rural and regional areas of Australia. Participants in the study reside in retirement villages in the regional township of Mount Gambier where residents make their own choices about food preparation and consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOdysseys of plates and palates
Subtitle of host publicationFood, society and sociality
EditorsSimeon S. Magliveras, Catherine Gallin
Place of PublicationFreeland, United Kingdom
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9789004374362, 9781848883246
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2015

Publication series

NameProbing the boundaries
PublisherInter-disciplinary press


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