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Improving the Health Span of Aging Adults Through Diet and Physical Activity.

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Principal Investigator/Project Leader: 
Department of Project: 
Department of Nutrition
Project Description: 

Despite their many health benefits, the recommended amount of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are not consumed by the majority of older adults in the U.S. The social-ecological model of healthy eating addresses multi-level factors that influence
consumers' food choices, including the individual level, family and interpersonal level, community and organizational levels, and policy and systems levels. For older adults, community, organizational and policy enablers of healthy eating in older adults
include accessibility, affordability, transportation, social support, and accommodating different living styles. Supermarkets, senior centers, and congregate meal sites are important settings where older adults practice food-related behaviors. This project will build upon lessons learned in the NE1439 regional research project and develop new understanding of important enablers and community supports for healthy eating in older adults. Through collaborative work with regional research members using qualitative and quantitative methods, we will identify the most important and modifiable enablers and behavioral settings to improve dietary behaviors in aging adults in communities across regions represented in this project. These results, along with relevant findings in the literature, will be used to develop and pilot test a tool that communities can use to assess their ability to support good nutrition among their older residents.