ABSTRACT The goal of this study was to record Muncie, Indiana residents’ change in eating habits over time. Objectives: 1) Identify key determinants that influence a change in participants’ eating habits; 2) Analyze the data for convergent themes among participants and draw patterns; and 3) Compare patterns found in this study population with existing literature and/or accepted theories within the field. Hypotheses on changes in food patterns included: 1) Socio-economic status in the middle-class population maintained daily food production to remain inside the home; 2) Women working outside the home reduced labor hours allotted to home cooking; and 3) Social norms valued home cooking resulting in home prepared meals. Methods: The study used a cross-sectional, oral-history, interview format. The study sample consisted of 25 seniors (65y - 100y old) from a convenience sample taken from one, medium-sized, mid-western town, Muncie, Indiana. The study involved use of a semi-structured, questionnaire/interview script, (approved by Ball State University’s IRB committee). Results: Economics greatly influenced, and continues to influence, food consumption patterns for depression-era born adults. Women who grew up on home-only cooked meals, but entered the workforce adjusted traditional meals in favor of convenience. Implications: Health care providers trying to change dietary habits of older residents residing in the Midwest will need to consider foods and food preparatory methods introduced in childhood; these remained key components of the diet later in life and removing them may be met with resistance.
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