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Význam jídla ve vyšším věku

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Title in English Meaning of food in older age


Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Stárnutí 2023 : Sborník příspěvků 6. gerontologické mezioborové konference
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Web sborník - full text
Keywords food; older people; cultural patterns; gender; autonomy
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Description Food defines people as individuals, as members of communities and societies. We are what we eat and we are equally what we don't eat. When, where, why, how and with whom we eat is central to the person and their identity. The function of food is not only to satisfy basic biological needs. Its social and cultural character is of equal or even greater importance in society. Age is an important determinant of what people eat because their diet changes over the course of their lives and the rituals associated with it also change. In this paper, we rely on a secondary analysis of a questionnaire-based (non-random) survey conducted by students with their grandparents. Data were obtained from 81 older people aged 58 to 94. While the sample selected does not allow for generalizations to the entire older people population, it represents an important entry into a previously rather neglected topic. It reflects the composition of the independently living urban older peoples’ population and offers the opportunity to better understand the eating habits of older men and women and the changes they undergo in older age, which is important for obtaining data related to their agency and quality of life. In this study, we identified the factors that influence the eating patterns of older people, particularly in relation to the changes that the relationship with food undergoes with increasing age, and which primarily determine their agency and quality of life. There was a strong continuity in eating habits, which was mainly disrupted by the need to 'stay healthy'. While commensality and adherence to eating rituals are gendered only a little, the importance of autonomy in eating is significantly stronger for older women than for older men. We consider the importance of autonomy in decisions about the form and composition of food to be a significantly underappreciated element that promotes quality of life.
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