Factors predicting meat and meat products consumption among middle-aged and elderly people: evidence from a consumer survey in Switzerland
Background : An adequate diet contributes to health and wellbeing in older age. This is nowadays more important than ever since in industrialised countries the elderly population is growing continually. However, information regarding the consumption behaviour of older persons in Switzerland is limited.
Objective : The objective of this investigation was to explore how middle-aged and elderly Swiss view animal products in relation to diet and health, and what factors predict consumption frequency.
Design : A representative consumer survey among 632 people over the age of 50 years, living in the German-, French- and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland was conducted.
Results : This paper presents the results related to meat and meat products consumption. Most participants consumed meat and meat products regularly. The majority of participants with low meat intake indicated that eating small amounts would be enough. Respondents judged fresh meat (except pork) to be healthier than meat products, and poultry to be the healthiest meat. Overall meat consumption frequency was predicted by language region, gender, household size, and BMI. Furthermore, participants’ opinion about healthiness, taste and safety of meat but not their adherence to the Swiss food pyramid was found to be correlated to the consumption frequency of individual types of meat.
Conclusion : Several factors have an impact on consumption frequency of meat and meat products in the middle-aged and elderly Swiss population and the importance varies according to the individual types of meat and meat products. The results show that the traditional food pyramid is not one of these factors for which reason new tools must be explored to support elderly people in regard to a healthy dietary behaviour.