Risk of Social Isolation as a Contributing Factor to Diet Quality in Community-Dwelling Older Persons Living in the Australian Capital Territory—A Pilot Study

Elizabeth Low, Nathan M D’Cunha, Ekavi Georgousopoulou, Nenad Naumovski, Rachel Bacon, Stephen Isbel, Megan Brocklehurst, Matthew Reynolds, Daena Ryan, Jane Kellett

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Abstract

Objectives: Social isolation is recognised as a risk factor in the inflammatory process. This study explored the association between social isolation and the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) in community-dwelling older persons. Methods: This cross-sectional pilot study recruited 107 community-dwelling people aged over 55 years living in the Australian Capital Territory. Participants completed an extensive food frequency questionnaire and provided anthropometric and sociodemographic data. Social isolation was evaluated using the Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS). Diet quality was assessed using DII. Results: Average age was 70.1 (±8.61) years and 62.8% were female. The average DII score was −1.10 (±1.21), indicating an anti-inflammatory diet. Higher LSNS was associated with lower DII (b (95% CI) = −0.041 (−0.066, −0.17); p < 0.01) and was positively influenced by the number of people in household (b (95% CI) = 5.731 (2.336, 9.127); p = 0.001). Conclusion: Increased risk of social isolation was associated with an increased tendency towards a more inflammatory diet. Reducing social isolation may decrease the inflammatory component of dietary intake for older persons living independently in the community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalHealthcare
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2024

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