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Food safety perceptions and behaviors of participants in congregate-meal and home-delivered-meal programs.

* The Elderly Nutrition Program (ENP) was implemented under the Older Americans Act (Title III).

* It provides congregate meals in senior centers, faith-based settings, and school locales.

* It also provides home-delivered meals (HDMs) to homebound elderly people.

* ENP has been instrumental in allowing older people to maintain independence and avoid premature nursing home placement.

* Elderly people are especially vulnerable to foodborne illness.

* As people age, immune system functions decrease.

* Antibiotic treatment is less effective because of a decrease in physiological function.

* The elderly have a higher incidence of major surgeries that affect the body's ability to fight infections.

* They are more likely to experience more severe consequences from an infection.

* Also, changes in the gastrointestinal tract, malnutrition, lack of exercise, and excessive use of antibiotics may all increase morbidity and mortality from foodborne illness.

* Therefore, special attention needs to be given to the food safety perceptions and behaviors of HMD clients.

* A food safety survey was conducted at senior-center sites providing congregate meals and HDMs in nine counties in central Kentucky.

* The author examined food safety perceptions, food safety behaviors, and emergency food preparedness of HDM and congregate-meal clients.

* The study found that elderly people have misconceptions that are of significant importance to their overall health.

* Some respondents believed that foodborne illness was not likely to happen to them.

* Some believed that foodborne illness did not occur in the home.

* Respondents displayed several unsafe food practices, such as not eating their meals upon delivery.

* Over 20 percent of respondents ate food that had been left out in unsafe conditions for over two hours.

* Nearly 10 percent stated that they would eat a casserole that had been left out overnight.

* Many elderly people experienced the Great Depression and are on fixed incomes.

* They may feel uneasy discarding food.

* They need consistent reminders and encouragement to throw out food that is unsafe.

* The findings also suggest that more attention should be given to preparing elderly people for emergencies.

* They should be encouraged to stock food, water, and supplies in the home.

This department, Practical Stuff! originated from you, our readers. Many of you have expressed to us that one of the main reasons you read the Journal of Environmental Health is to glean practical and useful information for your everyday work-related activities. In response to your feedback, we dedicate this section to you with salient points to remember about two to three articles in each issue.
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Title Annotation:Practical Stuff!
Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Date:Sep 1, 2007
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