Background: Little is known about the magnitude of social and health factors which affect the food choices and nutritional intake of elderly people with restricted mobility.
Design: Semistructured taped interviews were used to capture expressions used in the identification of health and social factors which affect food choices and nutritional intake of 13 female subjects and three male subjects living in the community with restricted mobility. Twenty-four-hour recall assessment was used to establish their dietary intake and meal patterns.
Results: There was an inadequate intake of fluid, fruit and vegetables and nonstarch polysaccharide by the subjects. In addition, there was an infrequent consumption of cooked meals. Health and social factors which affect the food choices and nutritional intake of older people were identified as being inadequate money, inadequate food storage facilities, physical disabilities affecting food preparation, poor access to shops, difficulties in undertaking the shopping, type of cooking facilities, loneliness and bereavement.
Conclusion: Elderly people living in the community with restricted mobility may be unable to consume an optimum nutritional intake due to the health and social factors identified which affect their food choices and nutritional intake.