DIET, FOOD SECURITY, SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS AND DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS IN HOMEBOUND OLDER ADULTS IN THE UNITED STATES AND THEIR IMPACT ON HEALTHCARE UTILIZATION
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Homebound older adults may be at increased risk for malnutrition and social isolation, posing a potential threat to them aging in their communities and increasing healthcare cost. The Nutrition Service Program under Older Americans Act (OAANSP) was established to support older adults aging in place by delivering meals and providing nutrition-related services.
Aims: 1) Examine diet quality of home-delivered meal (HDM) recipients; 2) examine direct and indirect associations between social relationships, depressive symptoms, food insecurity (FI) and diet quality; and 3) examine direct and indirect associations between social relationships, FI, diet quality and hospitalization.
Methods: Data obtained from OAANSP Outcomes Evaluation study included: 1) client outcomes survey, 2) two 24-hour dietary recalls, and 3) Medicare healthcare utilization data. Dietary recalls examined diet quality by calculating 1) population-level mean HEI scores; and 2) usual vegetable and protein intakes. Diet quantity was compared to Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (DGA), and structural equation modeling was used to examine direct and indirect relationships.
Results: HDM recipients and controls have high prevalence of FI, 22.4% and 16.5%, respectively. HDM recipients who did not receive a meal on day of dietary recall (no-meal recipients) had significantly poorer diet quality than HDM recipients who received a meal (meal recipients) that day and control group. Quality of overall diet for meal recipients, no-meal recipients and controls did not meet recommendations for several food groups/nutrients. Compared to DGA, HDM and complementary foods were low in whole grains, dairy, fiber, and surpassed upper limit of consumption for saturated fats, refined grains, sodium and added sugar. High FI was associated with greater depressive symptoms and lower usual vegetable intake in control group. High FI was associated with lower usual protein intake in HDM recipients and controls. Both groups were at high risk for protein insufficiency, which was associated with greater hospitalization in the control group.
Conclusions: HDM recipients and controls have high prevalence of FI, poor diet quality, and insufficient protein intake. Increasing funding for OAANSP can allow program expansion and improvement of HDM. Validated tools to examine social relationships and additional contributors to FI are needed