The association between depression and widowhood and nutritional status in older adults

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18 Scopus citations


This study aimed to investigate the association of depression and widowhood on the nutritional status of older adults. A cross-sectional study of community-dwelling older adults in the rural United States was conducted. Dietary intake was measured via questionnaires. Depression status was classified by asking participants if they have ever been diagnosed with the condition, or by review of medical records. The final sample consisted of 1065 participants with 141 (13.2%) depressed, 384 (36.1%) widowed, and 67 (6.3%) both depressed and widowed. Mean caloric intake for total study population was low; widows and widowers had the lowest energy consumption among all groups. Greater intake of several nutrients was observed in depressed and/or widowed subjects. Nutritional services, such as congregate and home delivered meal programs, were not identified as significant contributors to the nutritional intake in older adults who were depressed, widowed, or both. Health care professionals may contribute to meal-based nutrition programs by offering their assistance in aspects of nutritional education and counseling for the promotion of healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-433
Number of pages6
JournalGeriatric Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Bereavement
  • Diet
  • Geriatrics
  • Nutrition
  • Spousal loss


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