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Relationship between living alone and food and nutrient intake

Katherine L. Hanna, Peter F. Collins
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuv024 594-611 First published online: 12 August 2015

Abstract

The increase in the number of individuals living alone has implications for nutrition and health outcomes. The aim of this review was to investigate whether there is a difference in food and nutrient intake between adults living alone and those living with others. Eight electronic databases were searched, using terms related to living alone, nutrition, food, and socioeconomic factors. Forty-one papers met the inclusion criteria, and data of interest were extracted. Results varied but suggested that, compared with persons who do not live alone, persons who live alone have a lower diversity of food intake, a lower consumption of some core foods groups (fruits, vegetables, and fish), and a higher likelihood of having an unhealthy dietary pattern. Associations between living alone and nutrient intake were unclear. Men living alone were more often observed to be at greater risk of undesirable intakes than women. The findings of this review suggest that living alone could negatively affect some aspects of food intake and contribute to the relationship between living alone and poor health outcomes, although associations could vary among socioeconomic groups. Further research is required to help to elucidate these findings.

  • diet
  • food intake
  • living arrangements
  • nutrient intake
  • one-person household.
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