Factors influencing older people's food choices

Topics: Old age, Middle age, Gerontology Pages: 7 (2297 words) Published: May 6, 2005
The older peoples' food choices may be influenced by a number of Physiological, Psychological, Social and Economic factors. Lets look at some of these factors and why they affect the elderly food choices.

Physiological factors:

People who choose food because of physiological factors are usually because of:

Hunger, Appetite or Satiety: Hunger is your body's way of telling you that you need food. Appetite is the desire to eat, even when you're not hungry. Your senses, sight, smell and taste play a significant role in stimulating appetite. Satiety refers to satisfying your hunger or appetite. It can be described as a pleasant feeling of contentment after eating. The satiety is a matter of personal experience. So an older person might make a food choice based on if they're hungry, if they feel like something in particular (appetite), and if they're satisfied with their food selection then they're going to continue to buy that product.

Nutritional requirements: These are the types and amount of nutrient needed for good health. Not everyone has the same nutritional requirements; they vary according to four main reasons, which are age, size, gender and activity level. As people have different nutritional requirements, their food choices should be different. Elderly people generally need less energy from their food than that of a teenage or adult. This is due to a fall in Basal Metabolism, which is the amount of energy used when resting. So basically as you get older sleeping and resting become more of a daily routine rather then when your 12 and play sport all the time. Other factors affecting energy requirement of elderly people are e decline in physical activity and changes in body composition. So older people don't have to have as much energy as adolescence because their not always playing sport where a lot of adolescences are. So nutritional requirements will affect the older peoples food choices. Older people should be buying foods that are high in nutrients and fibre, yet low to moderate sources of energy.

Physical reactions to food: Physical reactions to food are usually caused by appearance, odour, taste, allergies and intolerances. Your senses encourage you to eat and alert you if something is not quite right. Depending on your like and dislikes odours may tempt you to eat or make you feel sick. People are all different and so are their reactions to food. Some people experience undesirable physical reactions to food. Some reactions include skin rash, asthma or headaches. The food that causes these reactions must be avoided and so allergies and intolerances have a significant influence on food selection.

So not just older people but everyone should avoid foods which they don't like or have reactions to and this will affect their food selections. So physiological factors will influence older people's food choices in many ways, all of which can determine what food older people should be eaten and what older people need to remember when making their food selection.

Psychological factors:

Psychological factors relating to food selection are about how thoughts and feelings translate into food choices. There are six main factors to consider. Values: These are things that are important to you. They are so important that they can influence your decisions and actions. So for older people the food industry has changed over years, now there are conventional products and new modern electrical appliances like a microwave available. The older people might have strong values that pealing vegetables and boiling is the better and the right way to go instead of buying frozen mixed vegetables already half cooked.

Habits: These refer to things you do regularly, often without thinking. Habits can be hard to break as they come part of your everyday routine. When the elderly were little kid they might have been taught to come home from work/school and begin cooking tea. That's how they've been brought up and that's how...
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