Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
SANTELLE, Odete; LEFEVRE, Ana Maria Cavalcanti and CERVATO, Ana Maria. Social representations of eating and nutrition by residents of homes for the elderly in São Paulo, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.23, n.12, pp. 3061-3065. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2007001200029.
This study analyzed social representations of institutional eating and nutritional patterns among residents of long-term homes for the elderly, in order to identify conditioning factors for eating behavior that may interfere in their nutritional status. A qualitative exploratory study was performed in five homes for the elderly in São Paulo, Brasil, including 40 elderly participants of both sexes, without cognitive disorders, residing in these institutions for at least six months. The study selected 20 subjects who were undernourished or at risk of malnutrition and 20 without risk of malnutrition. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and the data were analyzed according to the collective subject discourse technique. As perceived by these elderly, the institutional eating routine, the routine menus, and insufficient supply of fruits and vegetables have a negative interference on their eating. They also recognize that balanced nutrition improves health and quality of life. They report that lack of appetite among some residents is related to unpleasing meals, health problems, and inadequate help during meals. This study identified psychological and social factors that may lead to malnutrition among the elderly in institutions.
Keywords : Collective Feeding; Homes for the Aged; Feeding Behavior.