NUTRITION&FOOD Published November5, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Living Alone May Encourage Poor Diet

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(Photo : Chaloner Woods | Hulton Archive)

Are you currently living alone? Your social situation may actually prevent you from eating healthy, says a new study.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has just released a study that establishes a link between nutrient or food consumption and living alone by studying more than 35 previous researches about the subject. This QUT study is the most comprehensive research thus far.

According to researchers Dr Peter Collins and Dr Katherine Hanna, who both belong to the university's Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, lone dwellers may be more likely to eat less diverse food and may have poor intake of fruits and vegetables.

Many factors may contribute to the varying dietary behaviors among this group. One, since they are living alone, they may have poorer kitchen or cooking skills and hence may settle for ready-made food that is lacking from the right nutrients but heavy on salt and fat. Second, they often shop alone, which may imply there's no one who can tell them to buy healthier choices. People who live alone also often lack the motivation to eat healthy since they don't have others who can express support toward a healthier lifestyle.

There are also others who avoid buying healthier food including fish. Since these types of food are expected to be consumed more often, they tend to be more expensive than less-healthy choices in the long run. Among the elderly, one of the possible reasons for a bad diet is loneliness.

This doesn't mean, though, that you need to invite another into your home. Dr Hanna offers a number of suggestions to improve your eating habit including making healthy ingredients more accessible, creating programs that promote food diversity and improvement of culinary skills specifically for lone households, and providing opportunities for single dwellers to socialize or commune.

The study is now available in Nutrition Reviews.

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