Habits of a lifetime: Family dining patterns over the lifecourse of older Australians

Banwell, Cathy; Dixon, Jane; Broom, Dorothy; Davies, Anna
September 2010
Health Sociology Review;Sep2010, Vol. 19 Issue 3, p343
Academic Journal
Here we examine how older Australians' accounts of family meals mirror shifts in the Australian way of life over the second half of the twentieth century coupled with their changing personal circumstances as they age. We provide qualitative accounts of these changes drawn from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 111 men and women resident in greater Melbourne and born in the 1920s and 1930s. Mostly, study participants have retained many of the habits and practices of their youth, although changing domestic arrangements, aging and health concerns have impacted on their culinary habits. When young they learned to view food as a utilitarian necessity and this attitude has translated, in later life, into a concern for its health effects, often signalled by changing body weight and shape. The most obvious impact of evolving Australian foodscapes on their culinary habits is that they now dine out more frequently and consume a great diversity of food.


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