Inadequate cooking skills, no partner to go shopping with, increasing cost of food and lack of motivation to cook are among the major reasons for poor diet in people living alone, the findings showed.

"Our results found, people who live alone have a lower diversity of food intake and consumption of core food groups like fruits, vegetables and fish," said one of the researchers Katherine Hanna from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.

"The research suggests living alone may represent a barrier to  healthy eating that is related to the cultural and social roles of food and cooking. For example, a lack of motivation and enjoyment in cooking and/or eating alone often led to people preparing simple or ready-made meals lacking key nutrients," Hanna explained.

The researchers analysed 41 studies to investigate the link between living alone and food and nutrient intake. Hanna said people living alone were diverse in range of age, gender, education and socio-economic status.

"A person who is bereaved or divorced, may have previously relied on their partner for food and lack of sufficient cooking skills to make healthy meals," she said."Economic factors also explain lower consumption of food like fruits, vegetables and fish, as they require more frequent purchase and consumption," Hanna said.

"The psychological impacts of living alone can also influence diet," she pointed out. The study was published in the journal Nutrition Reviews


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