Elderly people sometimes skip meals due to high food prices

THE HAGUE – Many elderly people are concerned about rising food prices. They sometimes even skip the hot meal because of the high cost. That is the conclusion of the Nutrition Center, which, together with the elderly organization ANBO, conducted research into healthy eating among the elderly.

The study was conducted by research agency Flycatcher among 2,057 Dutch people aged 65 and older. More than three quarters of them said they were (somewhat) concerned about rising food prices. These concerns are greatest (83 percent) among the elderly with a low income. Among seniors with a high income, 59 percent are concerned.

Worrying is one thing, but it turns out that sometimes the elderly actually can’t buy healthy food. Almost 1 in 3 elderly people with a low income indicate that they have too little budget for healthy food. While 18 percent of this group indicates that they do want to eat healthily. 1 in 10 elderly people with a low income indicate that they occasionally skip a hot meal to save money. Shockingly, says ANBO director Anneke Sipkens: “Even as you get older, it is important that you get enough healthy foods, such as your daily portion of vegetables. Because with that you can prevent all kinds of misery, such as cardiovascular disease or cancer. And we all want to stay healthy as long as possible, right?”

Shopping differently
When asked in what ways the elderly can be helped to eat healthier, 39 percent answered that cheaper healthy products can play a role in this. 27 percent would like to see a healthier food supply in stores. Liesbeth Velema, nutrition and behavior expert at the Nutrition Center: “Research shows: the greater the healthy food offer, the easier it is to choose it.” It is important that the price is right. Older people with a low income in particular indicate that a cheaper supply of healthy products can help to eat healthier. Nearly 1 in 5 respondents in this group states that having more money would help them with this. Elderly people are already trying to save money in the supermarket. More than 2 in 3 older people say they have changed something in their purchasing behavior because of the rising prices. Within the group of elderly people with a low income, more than three quarters have adapted the way of shopping, for elderly people with a high income this is slightly more than half. In concrete terms, this means that the elderly (more often) buy products that are on sale. 1 in 3 elderly people also shop in several supermarkets, in search of the cheapest products. And otherwise they buy cheaper products at their usual supermarket (27 percent), or simply buy less (15 percent).

Source: Food newspaper

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