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Food choice and health across the life course: A qualitative study examining food choice in older Irish adults


  • Delaney, Mary
  • McCarthy, Mary


Ireland has experienced much economic and social change in recent times along with rising levels of overweight. Two-thirds of adults are now overweight or obese. Excess weight is a major risk for chronic disease for all ages which heralds a great societal burden and presents challenges and opportunities for the food industry. Individual food choice is an important and complex factor to be understood in order for food manufacturers to enable healthy choices. It can be understood as a process in which patterns arise and change over time, influenced by a range of personal factors and environmental influences. This study aimed to gain insight into the key contextual influences on food choice patterns in older Irish adults of varied health status who have lived through much socioeconomic change. In-depth semi-structured interviews on food choice across the life course were conducted with 32 adults aged 61-79. Data was thematically analysed using content analysis. Patterns of eating within the changing food environment and dietary choices in the face of ageing and illness were influenced by accumulated life experiences. Findings can contribute to health and nutrition policies and to the design of tailored interventions and products to facilitate the adoption of healthful diets.

Suggested Citation

  • Delaney, Mary & McCarthy, Mary, 2009. "Food choice and health across the life course: A qualitative study examining food choice in older Irish adults," 113th Seminar, September 3-6, 2009, Chania, Crete, Greece 58004, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa113:58004

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