An exploratory analysis of the restaurant dining patterns of older adults

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Virginia Tech


The main objective of this study was to describe the restaurant dining patterns of a representative random sample of adults 65 years of age and older and to evaluate the impact that their health concerns and special diets have on their restaurant dining patterns. In addition, the specific features of food service products and services that are important to aged individuals when selecting a restaurant were examined.

The phrase 'dining patterns' refers to both food intake (the specific foods consumed) and individual consumption patterns (time, frequency, location of meals, and dining companions). Four different measures were used to quantify food intake: (1) entree items most often selected; (2) preferred method of preparation; (3) frequency of dessert purchases; and (4) type of dessert most often selected. Consumption patterns were quantified as: (1) type of restaurant patronized for each meal period; (2) frequency of restaurant visits per meal period; (3) dollar value of purchases per meal period; and (4) restaurant dining companions.

A mail survey of 1000 adults age 65 and older, was conducted in order to obtain information about the restaurant menu selections and consumption patterns of aged individuals living in the Commonwealth of Virginia.