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Acta Portuguesa de Nutrição

On-line version ISSN 2183-5985


VALDIVIESSO, Rui et al. Network of Volunteers from the Nutrition UP 65 project: voluntary work perspectives in community-based interventions and public health. Acta Port Nutr [online]. 2018, n.12, pp.38-41. ISSN 2183-5985.

Nutrition UP 65 project is framed on the goal of reducing nutritional inequities among older adults in Portugal, improving the knowledge on their nutritional status and empowering health professionals on dealing with older adults’ nutritional status. To achieve those goals, a nationwide study was conducted within a sample of 1500 subjects aged ≥ 65, representative of the structure of the Portuguese older adults’ population in terms of sex, age, region of the country and educational level. The study results allowed for the identification of the educational needs of health professionals, older adults, caregivers and other social agents. A network of volunteers among students and alumni from Faculdade de Ciências da Nutrição e Alimentação da Universidade do Porto was organized with the objective of conducting educational sessions on healthy eating habits and meals preparation, aimed at older adults, caregivers and food handlers. Between January 2016 and April 2017, 56 volunteers enrolled in the network and 48 sessions were delivered to 1654 older adults and 257 caregivers and food handlers in 44 social institutions. Around 3500 materials were distributed to the target audiences. The evaluation of the network’s results was conducted through the analysis of the volunteers’ reports. The majority (63%) claims to have felt difficulties getting acceptance by the institutions and 88% stated the interaction with older adults as the most positive aspect of the activity. The motivation towards participation was analysed on enrolment forms. The majority (65.4%) stated a professional motivation. A reported personal motivation was inversely related with the number of performed sessions (p<0.05). The network of volunteers has demonstrated to be an easily replicable initiative for short term community-based interventions.

Keywords : Nutritional status; Healthy ageing; Gerontology,; Older adults; Voluntary work.

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