Eating healthy is essential for overall good health, but as we age it may not always be the easiest. Researchers at the University of British Columbia attempted to uncover the best way to boost the consumption of fruits and vegetables among seniors.
By using social support as a means to boost intake of fruits and vegetables, researchers found women were more likely to respond better to emotional support.
Social support can come in different forms like emotional support (which can boost one’s sense of self), and tangible support (receive assistance to perform tasks).
Researchers found emotional support may work best for women because it encourages them to cook for themselves and promotes the use of more fruits and vegetables.
According to the Canadian Food Guide people should eat at least five servings a day of fruits and vegetables to receive health-boosting benefits. But the study found nearly half of seniors aged 65 years and up came nowhere close to reaching this target.
Although women were responsive to the social support, men showed no significant response to any form of social support.
“This means that there’s an opportunity that we’re missing: to encourage or provide friends and family members of older adults with the tools they need,” said Emily Rugel, lead author of the study.
Researchers suggest education campaigns promoting eating well and eating recommended servings of health foods is essential to promote healthy eating.
The findings were published in Appetite.