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Education Level Affects Reliance on Nutrition Sources

Researchers find that less-educated elderly are more likely to rely on doctors, TV and neighbors

MONDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who have completed less than four years of college are more likely to rely on their doctors, television and neighbors for nutrition information than are older adults with four or more years of college education, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Diane L. McKay, Ph.D., of Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues surveyed 176 adults ages 50 and older, 47.7 percent of whom had less than four years of college and 52.3 percent of whom had four or more years of college.

The researchers found that 70.7 percent of the less-educated adults relied on information from their doctors compared to 53.8 percent of those with more education. They also found that less-educated adults relied more heavily on information from television (57.3 percent versus 41.8 percent) and their neighbors (12.2 percent versus 3.3 percent). They identified the only significant gender difference as reliance on friends (42.7 percent for women versus 16.7 percent for men).

"Strategies to improve and/or ensure the quality of the specific nutrition information sources this vulnerable group relies on may be needed," the authors conclude. "Registered dietitians can take a more proactive role at the community by offering their services to outlets identified in this article as being most frequently relied upon by older adults."

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