Community Priorities for Healthy Eating in Older Adults

Qianzhi Jiang, Nancy L. Cohen, Melissa Ventura Marra, Kathleen Woolf, Judith Gilbride, Sarah L. Francis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Community planners such as policymakers and health care and nutrition service providers can create an “age-friendly” environment to support healthy eating in older residents by addressing the highest priorities that enable older adults to improve their dietary intake through different food-related community settings. To identify and prioritize these factors that facilitate behavioral change (enablers) and behavioral settings important for older adult nutrition based on the social ecological model, nutrition and aging professionals (n = 30) from two rural (West Virginia, Iowa) and two urban (Massachusetts, New York) city/county regions (communities) participated in an online or live focus group discussion and completed an analytic hierarchy process survey online. Overall, the most important perceived enablers were accessibility and cost, followed by transportation and social support, but their relative importance varied by community. Participants from all communities considered congregate meal sites and food banks among the most important behavioral settings. Participants from most communities considered food stores to be important and also highlighted other settings unique to the area, such as senior housing, neighborhood, and farmers’ markets. By targeting interventions to address the most notable enablers and behavioral settings specific to their community, planning groups can enhance their older residents’ ability to achieve optimal nutritional health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-91
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017


  • Access
  • aging
  • congregate meal sites
  • cost
  • healthy eating
  • priorities
  • social ecological model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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