George Grimble, University College London, (UCL), UK
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a fresh fruit and vegetable delivery on the health and independence of seniors. The habitual consumption of fruits and vegetables (F&V) in accordance with recommendations has shown to have a protective effect on the onset of non- communicable diseases. However, little literature is available that reports on the effect of such interventions on the health and well being of seniors.
Design/methodology/approach: The paper reports on 72 participants, aged over 50 years, who received a nutrition intervention consisting of weekly deliveries of F&V for 12 weeks; this was complemented by cooking sessions in a community kitchen. In this study, health benefits as well as the impact on independence were set to be extrapolated from change in Likert scale scores, for both dietary intakes and the perception of well-being and independence.
Findings: A notable increase in F&V intakes were found for both genders receiving the intervention while no change was noted in the control group.
Research limitations/implications: Future research should assess the changes in biological markers such as cholesterol levels, etc., of subjects receiving the intervention. A longer duration would also be more representative of health changes.
Practical implications: Such interventions, if implemented nationally, can have a great economical impact on the NHS, as they play a preventive role by delaying the onset of non-communicable diseases.
Social implications: Reports that subjects felt more independent and part of the community after attending the cooking sessions can help tackle problems related to social isolation common to the ageing population.
Originality/value: No similar research was available in the literature; this will benefit not only the nutrition community but also public health policy makers.
Keywords: Fruits and vegetables, Elderly, Non-communicable diseases, Health, Well-being.