Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviours Concerning the Mediterranean Diet Among Older Adults in Australia

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Abstract

Despite the growing body of evidence demonstrating the positive health effects of the Mediterranean diet, it is not routinely recommended in practice and adherence is low in the general population in Australia. The knowledge-attitude-behaviour model explains how health behaviours are supported through a process of acquiring knowledge, developing attitudes, and forming behaviours. Evidence has suggested that having a high level of nutrition-related knowledge is associated with more positive attitudes, which is directly linked to positive dietary behaviours. However, reports of knowledge and attitudes towards the Mediterranean diet, and how these directly relate to behaviours in older adults, are lacking. This study explored Mediterranean diet-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours among community-dwelling older adults in Australia. Participants were adults aged 55 years and older who completed an online survey that contained three parts: (a) knowledge – Mediterranean Diet Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire (Med-NKQ); (b) nutrition-related attitudes and behaviours, and barriers and enablers to dietary change; (c) demographics. The sample included 61 adults who ranged in age from 55 to 89 years. The overall knowledge score was 30.5 out of a possible 40 points, with 60.7% classified as having a high level of knowledge. Knowledge was lowest for nutrient content and label reading. Attitudes and behaviours were generally positive and were not associated with level of knowledge. The most common barriers to dietary change were perceived cost and lack of knowledge, and motivational factors. There are a number of key gaps in knowledge that should be addressed through targeted educational programs. Strategies and tools to overcome perceived barriers and improve self-efficacy are needed to facilitate positive dietary behaviours.

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APA

Turner, A., LaMonica, H. M., Moroney, C., O’Leary, F., Naismith, S. L., & Flood, V. M. (2023). Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviours Concerning the Mediterranean Diet Among Older Adults in Australia. Journal of Community Health, 48(6), 951–962. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-023-01237-1

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