Professor John Coveney has been awarded a Seed Grant from Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation for his E.A.T (Everyone At the Table) project to investigate the extent to which regularly sharing a meal with others reduces loneliness in older Australians.
Up to one third of older Australians will at some point in time experience loneliness, with six to seven per cent of over-65s experiencing chronic loneliness.
“As individuals age, they experience significant shifts and changes in their life, family, connections and surroundings,” Professor Coveney explains.
“Loneliness is a significant problem in Australia, with negative mental and physical health consequences, and older Australians represent one group at heightened
risk of this.”
With loneliness associated with psychological distress and depression, and increased morbidity and mortality in later life, Professor Coveney hopes the EAT project will provide more information on the nature and frequency of shared meals that might be effective in reducing loneliness in this group.
His research will examine the effects of a regular shared meal on the experience of loneliness, and the effects of frequent social eating on the nutritional quality of diet. The study will then examine how social eating can be fully implemented and planned and the potential for an extended program.
Project Lead: Professor John Coveney
Project Title: E.A.T (Everyone At the Table): Does social eating reduce the experience of loneliness in older Australians?
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