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Two projects within the NutriAct competence cluster

Within the framework of the interdisciplinary competence cluster NutriAct (Nutrition Intervention for Healthy Aging: Food Pattern, Behavior and Products), the Institute for Medical Sociology and Rehabilitation Science explores the influence of socio-cultural factors as well as normative and individual-biographical transitions on habitualized nutritional practices. The overarching goal of the interdisciplinary research network is to promote healthy ageing.

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By means of reconstructive social research and quantitative methods, everyday nutrition patterns and practices, as well as food choice, are examined. The focus is on the long-term stability and dynamics of the NutriAct target group as well as their potential for change with regard to their dietary habits.

Project 1: NutriAct - Nutrition Practices of Older People in Periods of Change

Within the scope of a qualitative longitudinal study on nutrition patterns and practices, interviews will be conducted with people aged between 60 and 75, who find themselves before, during or after the 'status passage' from the employment to the retirement phase. The focus will be on the extent to which the target group is willing to change their dietary habits and whether it is possible for them to change routinized dietary practices in the long term. In addition, individual-biographical transitions (e.g. illness, separation from partner) will be examined to determine in how far such life phases shape everyday dietary practices and their perpetuations and modifications.

The aim is further to investigate in what ways the status passage from employment to retirement can be used as an intervention point, in order to achieve health-promoting modifications of habitualized, potentially unfavorable eating styles. 

In addition, it will be examined to what extent the purchasing behavior of the target group with regard to a healthy, regional nutrition pattern can be modified with the help of a mobile application (app). For this purpose, the acceptance and adherence of the target group to such an appplication will be investigated.

Project 2: Nutriact - The nutritional choice of older people in a socio-cultural context

A qualitative study design was used to investigate pair-related discourses and negotiation processes on food selection. The hypotheses generated will be statistically tested in the NutriAct Family Study (NFS). 

The data analysis within the NFS will be used to investigate the influencing factors of food choice in an interdisciplinary way. The aim is to understand similar or divergent eating habits within the family context. The analysis of food choices and eating habits over time will be realized based on the NFS. The influence of social transition phases such as changes in occupational status (e.g. unemployment, retirement), marital status (e.g. widowhood, divorce) or changes in residence (e.g. moving town/country) will be analyzed as well.

Within the framework of experimental studies on taste and attention training, the mechanisms of changing eating habits will be  qualitatively explored by means of group discussions. Focusing on the social or family context, the qualitative study aims to identify influencing factors that inhibit and/or promote long-term changes in eating habits.