Community dwelling elderly are appropriate subjects for intensive dietary choice restriction studies.
There is a traditional belief that the elderly have difficulty coping with dietary change, and therefore have a diminished likelihood of successfully responding to nutritional interventions or restrictions. Using a controlled mild zinc-deficiency feeding study as a model for strict dietary intervention, we assessed psychological responses to severe dietary choice restriction in 15 Caucasian, elderly (66.12 +/- 4.43 years) males (n= 7) and females (n = 8). Participants completed the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36-Item Questionnaire (SF-36) as an index of QOL and the Multi-dimensional Health Locus of Control (MHLC) as a measure of health beliefs at pre-intervention baseline, post-intervention, and follow-up. No subjects dropped out nor were any meals missed during the entire 21-day feeding study period. No significant differences were detected across time on the MHLC (Internal F = 0.53, P = 0.6; Powerful Others F = 0.28, P = 0.8; Chance F = 1.1, P = 0.4.) by one-way ANOVA. Similarly, for the SF-36 no significant differences were found across time (F = 0.76, P = 0.5). Our results suggest that restricting dietary choices does not negatively impact older adult subjects and that they can cope well with dietary choice restriction and change. Older adults should not be overlooked for nutritional intervention solely due to age considerations.
Plaisted, CS; Galanos, AN; Westlund, R; Lin, PH; Currie, K; Bales, CW
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