Year of Publication

2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Communication and Information

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Kimberly Parker

Second Advisor

Dr. Bobi Ivanov

Abstract

Older adults, defined as those age 60 and above, are at an increased risk for many health-related complications that are directly related to nutrition (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). This study highlights the lack of nutrition education material developed for older adults in Kentucky. Such material has great potential to influence the health of older adults (Chernoff, 2001). This study evaluated an intervention developed, by means of formative research, to teach older adults nutrition basics. Both direct and indirect measures related to stages of change for healthy eating behaviors were collected six weeks pre-intervention and then immediately post-intervention. Grocery store receipts (behavioral measure), Pfizer’s (2011) “Newest Vital Sign (NVS)” tool (cognitive measure), a modified version of Andres et al. (2011) S-Weight and P-Weight questionnaire (attitudinal measure) and focus groups with staff, caretakers, and administrators working with older adults, served as tools for data collection. In addition, participants were interviewed, either one-on-one or in a focus group setting after the conclusion of the intervention. The goal was to assess general feedback with regards to intervention implementation and areas for improvement. While none of the quantitative data achieved statistical significance, qualitative data showed promise with regards to the intervention having a positive effect on participants. Specifically, the intervention had a positive impact on nutrition behavior, knowledge, and attitudes. Older adults indicated increased knowledge in relation to reading a nutrition facts label and judging appropriate portion size. In addition, participants indicated behavior change via decreased calorie intake due to portion size awareness, intentional food choice, and decreased grocery spending. Likewise, participants conveyed positive attitudes towards eating healthy, preparing food at home, and monitoring their caloric intake. While the intervention was influenced by the novel COVID-19, results offer many theoretical and practical implications; both of which are discussed.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2020.314

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