Ageing men’s understanding of nutrition: Implications for health

Murray Drummond, James A Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There are gaps in the literature where ageing men's nutrition is concerned. Despite the rise of research on men and their health, ageing men appear to be under-researched and less from a qualitative perspective. Investigating men's understanding of nutrition from a public health perspective provides a deeper insight of the implications this has for their health. This research reports on in-depth qualitative interviews with 50 Australian male War veterans in relation to their understandings of health, specifically with respect to nutrition and food. However, broader ageing men's health issues are also identified.

Methods: Fifty semi-structured individual interviews were carried out to identify the dominant themes in relation to ageing men, health and nutrition. A focus group interview was then conducted with selected men to add validity and reliability to the data. Using thematic analysis seven themes emerged. These represent the issues that these men face with respect to nutrition as they age.

Results: Seven dominant themes emerged from the data and were categorised under the headings: habit and routine, food preference, social interaction, the wives, health literacy, alcohol consumption and polypharmacy.

Conclusions: Many ageing men do not have the necessary health literacy levels and decision-making skills associated with healthy nutrition. Due to the manner in which masculinity is socially constructed among this older generation of men food choice, cooking, and other broader health issues were left up to the spouse or female partner. This has implications for lone men, particularly for those who are recently widowed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-60
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Men’s Health & Gender
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


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