Focus group interviews with older Australians to explore their awareness of the national age-adjusted dietary recommendations and their suggestions for assisting them to meet these dietary targets

Sonya Brownie, Southern Cross University
Rosanne A. Coutts, Southern Cross University

Document Type Article

Abstract

Promoting a healthy, nutritious diet is central to the goal of assisting individuals to age well. This study used focus groups to explore older people’s awareness of the current age-adjusted nutrient recommendations and age-adjusted core food groups, and to capture their views about these dietary guidelines. Thematic analysis was applied to aggregate data into categories of frequently occurring responses. Data were collected from five focus groups: a total of 29 participants, aged 60–98 years of age. Analysis of responses revealed that participants were generally unaware of government-endorsed dietary guidelines or nutrient recommendations for older people. Their suggestions for assisting older people to meet these age-adjusted dietary targets included: targeted media campaigns to raise awareness about older people’s nutrient requirements; the need for practical meal plans that do meet their dietary needs; and the removal of barriers to supermarket food choices, such as problems with opening jars and excessive packaging.