Promoting Rural Nutrition
Table of Contents
Malnutrition is a major concern for the rural elderly population. Physical, social, and environmental factors contribute to nutritional problems and often lead to less successful treatment outcomes and higher mortality rates. Nutritional research in community dwelling elderly is limited. An evaluation of community based programs found 67-88% of the participants to be at moderate to high risk of malnutrition. Hospital or nursing home stay in the previous year was reported by 43% of those receiving home delivered meals. Rural elderly are especially vulnerable to nutritional problems. In Montana 44 out of 56 counties are considered frontier and travel of long distances is required for food and health services. It is believed that by providing nutritional, health, and social support persons will be able to stay in their communities longer and maintain a higher quality of life. While community-based programs are currently available in some rural areas of Montana, expansion to or modification of these programs may be more cost effective than development of new programs. The goal of this study was to determine an individual and community based nutritional profile necessary to support healthy aging in Montana. Extensive nutritional profiles of rural elderly including physical, social and environmental factors were examined. Further, the congruence between the elderly person's perceptions of availability of nutritional services with the actual availability of services in the rural community were also examined.
Funding: United States Department of Agriculture