“Eating together” is associated with food behaviors and demographic factors of older Japanese people who live alone

Midori Ishikawa, Y. Takemi, T. Yokoyama, K. Kusama, Y. Fukuda, T. Nakaya, M. Nozue, N. Yoshiike, K. Yoshiba, F. Hayashi, N. Murayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to examine the relationships between eating together and subjective health, frailty, food behaviors, food accessibility, food production, meal preparation, alcohol intake, socioeconomic factors and geography among older Japanese people who live alone. Design: A cross-sectional, multilevel survey was designed. The questionnaire was distributed by post and self-completed by participants. Setting: The sample was drawn from seven towns and cities across Japan. Participants: A geographic information system was used to select a representative sample of older people who lived alone based on their proximity to a supermarket. Recruitment for the study was conducted with municipal assistance. Measurements: A logistic regression analysis was performed that adjusted for the respondent’s age, socioeconomic status and proximity to a supermarket using stepwise variable analyses. The dependent variable was whether the respondent ate together more or less than once a month. Results: In total, 2,196 older people (752 men and 1,444 women) completed the questionnaire (63.5% response rate). It was found that 47.1% of men and 23.9% of women ate together less than once a month. Those who ate together less than once a month had a significantly lower rate of subjective health, food diversity and food intake frequency than those who ate together more often. A stepwise logistic analysis showed that the factors most strongly related to eating together less than once a month were not having any food shopping assistance (men: OR = 3.06, women: OR = 2.71), not receiving any food from neighbors or relatives (men: OR = 1.74, women: OR = 1.82), daily alcohol intake (women: OR = 1.83), frailty (men: OR = 0.48) and income (men: OR = 2.16, women: OR = 1.32). Conclusion: Eating together is associated with subjective health and food intake. Factors that affect how often older Japanese people who live alone eat together include food accessibility, daily alcohol intake, frailty and a low income.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-672
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Japan
  • Older people living alone
  • eating together
  • food accessibility
  • frailty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of '“Eating together” is associated with food behaviors and demographic factors of older Japanese people who live alone'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this