Author: Jenna Windhorst
Interview: Nutrition Care Systems (anonymous dietitian)
Socioeconomic and demographic differences have a huge impact on the type of food choices
elderly make in their daily lives. Higher quality diets are often associated with greater affluence.
Energy dense foods that are poor in nutrients are generally consumed by people of limited
economic means. These foods provide inadequate nutrition through heavy use of more
“We as dietitians see more disadvantaged groups tend to suffer from higher rates of obesity,
diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. All of these diseases have a direct link to nutrition
and diet. Some may say that dietary factors may help explain some of the social inequities in
the elderly’s health. The more affluent population has greater access to quality healthcare and
may in turn be healthier due to greater access to a higher quality diet.”
NCS explains how as dietitians, collectively, they approach these issues in order to provide
better care. “Early education of good nutrition and proper food choices is the key to stopping the
cycle of poor food choices. We see that trying to change someone’s eating style and choices
later in life can be difficult if not nearly impossible without explaining the negative health effects.
Ultimately the elderly have free will to make their own food choices but we as dietitians can try
to impart our expertise to help them make consistently good food choices within their budget.”
Overall, a residents’ socioeconomic circumstances alter the approach in which dietitians take to provide the best nutritional assistance, so it is imperative they take into account all the factors.