|A-HA Team Lead
Keller, H (Principal Investigator)
Carrier, C (Co-PI)
2014 – 2016
Poor food intake greatly impacts health, well-being and quality of life for older adults living in long-term care (LTC). Worldwide, 30-60% of LTC residents don’t consume enough food or fluids to meet nutritional needs. Although it is both preventable and treatable, there has been very little research looking at the reasons behind poor food intake in LTC, and how it can be improved.
Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) is a program of research that addresses this gap. Led by Schlegel Research Chair and A-HA Research Scientist Heather Keller, PhD, RD, FDC, M3 involves researchers and stakeholder partners from multiple disciplines across four provinces (New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta).
Specifically, M3 conceptualizes the key modifiable determinants of food and fluid intake as falling into three categories: Meal Quality (nutritious, appealing food); Mealtime Experience (eating environment); and Meal Access (dentition, dysphagia, eating ability). Determining which of these factors is most relevant to food intake is the purpose of M3; by detecting the most influential factors, they can be targeted for future interventions.
Without a comprehensive understanding of food intake and its determinants, interventions will be nominally effective and poor food intake will continue to be pandemic. Findings will be used, not only to develop future targeted interventions, but also to advocate with decision makers and educate practitioners to improve mealtime processes and nutrition management within Canadian LTC homes.
Funding provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.