Study Finds COVID-19 Did Not Impact Food Choice and Food Sources Among Older Adults
Senior research fellow Natoshia Askelson, senior faculty affiliate Sato Ashida of the Health Policy Research Program, and Dave Frisvold, director of the Social and Education Policy Research Program, co-authored a study exploring the influential factors behind food choice and food sources in Iowans aged 50 years and older during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study used food citizenship, a theoretical framework that characterizes where food comes from and promotes the use of alternate food options over industrial food options, as a foundation for the study.
The study was conducted through in-depth interviews of Iowans within the specified age range, with half of the sample screening as food insecure. A thematic analysis was then conducted to identify common and recurring themes among the respondents. The researchers identified the most influential factors as food cost, personal preference, and healthfulness. Most respondents acquired their food from industrial food retailers, government programs, or food pantries, and claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic had not affected their food choices or sources.
The researchers claim that incentivizing the use of alternate food sources could increase the consumption of healthy food, as it is vital that older adults have access to affordable and healthy food.