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

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

In this project, we will work with other participating regional research project investigators to assess aging adults' perceptions and recommendations for community environmental supports for a food secure, culturally appropriate and healthy eating environment. The purpose of these studies is to identify the most important and modifiable enablers and behaviors of healthy eating among aging adults. To accomplish this, mixed methodology approaches will be used, including both qualitative and quantitative methods such as focus groups and consumer surveys. We anticipate that focus groups would include six to eight  people and will do as many as needed to reach a saturation point in the data. Saturation occurs when further data collection does not provide new knowledge. Open-ended questions will be used and questions will be developed to answer gaps in the literature review. All focus group discussions will be transcribed verbatim and will be analyzed using standard focus group protocols. Themes will then be identified from the most prevalent codes found amongst the transcriptions. Expanding on the NE-1439 work, additional consumer surveys will be developed using literature reviews, formative data from focus group discussions, or from community service providers or community members in the rural and urban regions of the participating states. These surveys will highlight the most important and modifiable community settings to improve food access and dietary behaviors in older adults. Surveys will identify older adults' use of community supports for healthy eating, identify the types ofsupports used, identify where seniors access their foods and if they are food secure, and provide recommendations for improvement to foster healthy eating in older adults. Based on prior NE1439 and results from NE1939 studies, as well as current literature on social-ecological factors that influence diet in older adults, we will develop and pilot test tools that communities can use to assess their ability to support good nutrition in community-dwelling older adults.