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Malnutrition during old age is a significant public health issue. Prevailing behavioral and structural senior malnutrition interventions have had marginal success, largely failing to reflect the realities of people's daily lives. This novel study employed Social Practice Theory (SPT) to explore the food practices of an under-researched, yet highly vulnerable, segment of the older adult population—Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) seniors. Four focus groups were conducted with 31 older adult clients and volunteers at a national LGBT social service and advocacy organization. Findings revealed that food practices—far from being mere expressions of individuals' choices or immutable habits—are entities composed of meanings, materials, and competences that are structured as they are performed repeatedly in a social context. Gaining insight into how and why diverse older adults perform food practices in light of obstacles common to aging has important implications for senior nutrition program and policy development.


This article originally appeared in Journal of Aging Studies, available at



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