Perceptions and factors influencing eating behaviours and physical function in community-dwelling ethnically diverse older adults: a longitudinal qualitative study

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  • University of Birmingham
  • University Hospital Birmingham


Ethnic minorities have a high prevalence of non-communicable diseases relating to unhealthy lifestyle practices. Several factors have been identified as influencing unhealthy lifestyle practices among this population; however, there is little evidence about how these factors differ among a heterogeneous sample living in a super-diverse city. This study aimed to: (1) identify and compare factors influencing eating behaviours and physical function among ethnic older minorities living in Birmingham, United Kingdom; and (2) understand how these factors and their association with healthy eating and physical function changed over 8-months. An in-depth interviewing approach was used at baseline (n = 92) and after 8-months (n = 81). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using directed content analysis. Healthy eating was viewed as more important than, and unrelated to, physical function. Personal, social and cultural/environmental factors were identified as the main factors influencing eating behaviours and physical function, which differed by ethnicity, age, and sex. At 8-month interviews, more men than women reported adverse changes. The study provides unique and useful insights regarding perceived eating behaviours and physical function in a relatively large and diverse sample of older adults that can be used to design new, and adapt existing, culturally-tailored community interventions to support healthy ageing.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1224
Number of pages24
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2019


  • Super-diversity, cultural, ethnic minorities, diversity, social networks, healthy eating, physical function, older adults