Socio-ecological correlates of meal skipping in community dwelling older adults

Holly Wild, Danijela Gasevic , Robyn L Woods, Joanne Ryan, Michael Berk , Rory Wolfe, John McNeil, Alice J. Owen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Socio-ecological correlates of meal skipping in community dwelling older adults

Ms. Holly Wild1, 2, Dr. Danijela Gasevic1, Prof. John McNeil1, Dr. Alice Owen1 1School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 2Nutritional Medicine Department, Torrens University, Melbourne, Australia

SIG - Primary Choice: A. Ageing Age Category: Older adults 65+ yrs

Subject Category: Nutrition

Purpose: Meal skipping may impact the nutritional status of older adults increasing the risk and severity of chronic disease. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and socio-ecological correlates of meal skipping in community dwelling Australian adults aged 70 years of over.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of 10,564 adults aged ≥70 years (mean age 78.0 ± 4.1, 54.5% females), participants in the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) Longitudinal Study of Older Persons (ALSOP). Factors hypothesized to be associated with meal skipping were self-reported and included: demographic, socio-economic, behavioural, biomedical, social and psychological factors. Meal skipping was assessed via: “How often do you miss meals?”. Participants could choose from a range of answers, from which a binary variable was created ‘rarely/never or yes’. The association between socio-ecological factors and meal skipping was examined using multivariable binary logistic regression. Odd ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported.

Results: The prevalence of any meal skipping in this cohort was 19.5%. The odds (OR [95%CI]) of meal skipping were lower in adults aged 85+ years (vs. 70-74 years 0.58 (0.47-0.73), those who lived outside urban areas (vs urban 0.81 [0.62-0.83]), and with ≤12 years of education (vs >12 years 0.84 [0.72-0.92]). Higher odds of meal skipping were observed for those who lived alone (vs those living with others 1.72 [1.54-1.92]), were current smokers (vs never smoked 2.39 [1.8-3.10]), consumed over 4 alcohol drinks per day (vs never drinkers 1.56 [1.12-2.18]), had self-reported poor oral health (vs self-reported excellent oral health 1.57 [1.00 -2.46]), experienced regular physical pain (vs rarely or no pain 1.23 [1.02 – 1.48]), or with depressive symptoms (vs who experience them rarely or never 1.43 [1.21-1.83]).

Conclusion: The results indicate that one fifth of the population of apparently healthy older adults skip meals. Greater meal skipping was observed among those who reported living alone, current smoking and greater alcohol consumption, poor oral health, regular physical pain and depressive symptoms. Addressing thesecorrelates of meal skipping may assist in targeting interventions to improve nutritional reserve and advance healthy ageing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2022
EventInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity - Phoenix, United States
Duration: 18 May 202221 May 2022
Conference number: 21


ConferenceInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Abbreviated titleISBNPA
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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