Relationships among food-related value-orientations, socio-economic status, and diet quality in independent-living senior citizens in Winnipeg
Harrison, Kathleen Rae.
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Values have recently been recognized as a variable that may aid in explaining food behaviour. Further, values are being increasingly considered by nutrition educators as a factor which may affect an individual's participation in educational programmes and his/her adoption of beliefs related to the programme. A group of 50 independent-living individuals over 59 years of age participated in a study designed to measure, and determine the relationships between, food-related value-orientations and diet quality. Research instruments included a questionnaire with 55 value-orientation statements and 7 demographic questions, and a 3-day food record. Years of education and former occupation prestige were combined as an index of socio-economic status. There was agreement (p=0.01) among the seniors as to the hierarchal ranking of the 7 value-orientation scales (-=0.70 to 0.87) derived from the value-orientation statements. Familism was ranked higher, and religion ranked lower, than health, education, economics, convenience, and social-psychological uses (p=0.05). Guttman scalogram techniques were applied to develop a 7-step scale of diet quality (C.R. = 0.93; C.S. = 0.66) following comparison of mean food group intake to that recommended by Canada's Food Guide (revised 1977). While 96 percent of the subjects reached step 2 (bread and cereals), only 6 percent reached step 7 (milk and milk products). Neither the hierarchal ranking pattern of value-orientations nor the scoring of individual value-orientations were related to diet quality. Socio-economic status level was negatively related to the value-orientations education, economics (p=0.01), and religion (p=0.05). Concomitant study of attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, values, and demographic factors is necessary to more fully understand the interaction of these variables in relation to the food consumption decision.