Food security among rural Newfoundland seniors

Callahan, Cynthia M. (2003) Food security among rural Newfoundland seniors. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The proportion of seniors in the Canadian population is increasing and will continue to rise in the future. Nutrition plays a very important role for seniors because it can improve quality of life, decrease mortality and morbidity rates, and improve overall health status. As seniors age they are at a greater risk of developing chronic disease and nutrition plays an important role in helping to decrease this risk. However, a number of barriers have been identified that can effect food security and the nutritional health of this group. These include financial resources, social support, transportation, and access to nutrition services. -- The purpose of this study was to survey seniors in rural Newfoundland communities to identify factors which may predispose them to food insecurity. The study was a cross-sectional descriptive study of seniors residing in several rural communities in Newfoundland within Economic Zone 17. The definition of senior for the purpose of this study included individuals who were 65 years and older. Seniors' were recruited using seniors groups, churches, clinics and Health and Community Services sites. The convenient study sample consisted of 144 seniors with a response rate of 39%. The data was collected using a questionnaire that seniors completed themselves and the BPI-Info Program was used for data analysis. -- Seniors were considered to be food secure when no problems were identified with respect to food availability, accessibility or consumption of food. Overall, the majority of seniors in this sample were food secure and no major issues were identified that predisposed this group to be at risk for food insecurity. Ninety-two percent of participants indicated they were eating enough of the foods that they wanted to eat. Eighty-six percent of participants reported they were food secure and that they did not have to resort to any coping strategies to deal with food insecurity. A very small percentage of seniors indicated they may be at risk of experiencing food insecurity. Some seniors reported resorting to coping strategies to offset food security and these included: 2.1% took money out of savings, 2.1% borrowed money, 0.7% bought food on credit, 3.5% bought or prepared meals that cost less, 0.7% borrowed food from family or friends and 1.4% ate at the homes of family and friends. As well, 0.7% reported that sometimes they do not have enough to eat. There were no barriers identified with respect to transportation, social support, physical mobility and income. Overall, there were no problems with food availability or accessibility to food. -- Among seniors in Economic Zone 17 who participated in this study, no barriers were identified that may predispose them to be at risk for food insecurity. However, the sample was limited to seniors who were accessed through their participation in a variety of community activities. Seniors who are unable to participate in such activities may be at greater risk for food insecurity. Recommendations were made to further assess the food security situation in other rural areas in Newfoundland and Labrador at a later time.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10255
Item ID: 10255
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 104-110.
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 2003
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Rural elderly--Nutrition--Newfoundland and Labrador.
Medical Subject Heading: Older people--Newfoundland and Labrador; Health Services for the Older people--Newfoundland and Labrador; Nutrition--Newfoundland and Labrador.

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