Eat, drink and make merry: Social interaction increases food intake among hospitalized seniors, study finds

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Social interaction between hospitalized seniors at mealtime has a direct correlation to the amount of food they typically eat, suggests a new study.

According to researchers at the Université de Montréal, up to 35% of seniors are malnourished, and lack of nutrition can contribute to other age-related health concerns. What's more, hospitalized seniors tend to eat even less, which could contribute even more to poor quality of health. Researchers observed 30 hospitalized seniors at mealtime, and discovered a clear correlation between food intake and social interaction.

Researchers measured seniors' levels of communication using an evaluation grid, and found that those who talked more and communicated more with others tended to eat more. If the conversations were friendly, researchers noted, food intake was even greater. Seniors who ate alone in their rooms tended to take in less nourishment, according to the study, which appears in the journal The Gerontologist.
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