A nutrition information needs survey among older adults: Application of adult learning principles

Ulrike Schultz, Faryle Nothwehr, Jessica Hanson, Matthew Chrisman, Heidi Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose - The aim of this study is to explore older adults' nutrition information needs. The paper seeks to describe the development and findings of a nutrition information needs assessment among older adults, with the application of principles of adult learning. Design/methodology/approach - A telephone survey among 321 older adults who were between 60 and 80 years old in the Midwest was conducted. The study was guided by principles of adult learning, and by self-efficacy, a key-construct of social cognitive theory. Findings - The majority reported to be white, with a mean age of 69 years. In total, 95 percent rated their knowledge about nutrition, and their interest in healthy eating as excellent/very good/ or good. Preferred nutrition information sources were health professionals, sources they have at home, nutrition classes, flyers/brochures/health newsletters, and public libraries. The majority was interested in information about eating healthfully, heart healthy diets, and strategies for healthy eating. The majority stated they think about taste and feeling better when they choose their food, and fewer participants stated they think about cost, convenience, losing weight, and better appearance. Major motivations to eat healthier were maintaining their health status, preventing disease and disability, as well as personal fitness. Originality/value - This research is an example of how using adult learning principles in combination with behavior change theories may be helpful in the assessment of nutrition information needs among older adults, and the design of nutrition information interventions in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalQuality in Ageing and Older Adults
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 23 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Elderly people
  • Health education
  • Health promotion
  • Nutrition
  • Personal health
  • Telephone survey
  • United States of America


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