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Appetite. 2015 Jul;90:168-75. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.03.011. Epub 2015 Mar 12.

Specific food preferences of older adults with a poor appetite. A forced-choice test conducted in various care settings.

Author information

1
Department of Health Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address: bs.vandermeij@ctral.org.
2
Department of Health Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Institute of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
4
Department of Health Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

A poor appetite in older adults is an important determinant of reduced food intake and undernutrition. Food preferences may influence food intake. The aim of this study was to investigate food preferences of older adults with a poor appetite and compare these with preferences of older adults with a good appetite. Older adults (n = 349, aged 65-101 years) in nursing/residential care homes, hospitals or at home receiving home care participated in a computer-based forced-choice food preference assessment. Self-reported appetite in the past week was classified as 'good' or 'poor' using a validated instrument. Food preferences were determined by counting the relative frequency of choices for food images according to 11 dichotomous categories: high/low 1) protein; 2) fat; 3) carbohydrates; 4) fiber; 5) variation; and 6) animal/vegetarian proteins; 7) sweet/savory taste; 8) solid/liquid texture; 9) dairy/non-dairy; with/without 10) sauce or 11) color variation. Specific food preferences in participants with a poor appetite were identified by one-sample t-tests comparing frequencies to the expected value of 48. Preference differences between those with a good and a poor appetite were analyzed using GLM adjusting for confounders. The results showed that older adults with a poor appetite (n = 113; 32.4%) preferred variation (51.6 vs. 48, P < 0.001), color variation (55.9 vs. 48, P < 0.01), non-dairy (53.0 vs. 48, P < 0.001), high-fiber (51.8 vs. 48, P < 0.05), and solid texture (53.5 vs. 48, P < 0.05). Participants with a poor appetite had a higher frequency score for variation than participants with a good appetite (51.6 vs. 48.5, P < 0.001). In conclusion, older adults with a poor appetite may have specific food preferences. Their preference for variation differs from those with a good appetite. These results may be used to develop meals that are preferred by older adults with poor appetite in order to increase food intake and prevent undernutrition.

KEYWORDS:

Appetite; Food preferences; Older adults; Undernutrition

PMID:
25772198
DOI:
10.1016/j.appet.2015.03.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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