Korean J Fam Pract. 2017; 7(6): 904-908  https://doi.org/10.21215/kjfp.2017.7.6.904
Eating Alone among Korean Elderly Association with Depressive Symptoms: The Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination, 2013
Jeong Sook Yang, Eun Jin Bae*, Ji Eun Hong, Joonil Kang, Won Jin Jeon
Department of Family Medicine, Daedong Hospital, Busan, Korea
Eun Jin Bae
Tel: +82-51-550-9300, Fax: +82-51-553-7575
E-mail: buxbunny@hanmail.net
Received: March 13, 2017; Revised: August 3, 2017; Accepted: August 11, 2017; Published online: December 20, 2017.
© Korean Academy of Family Medicine. All rights reserved.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract
Background: Eating alone is becoming an important social issue, and simultaneously, Korea is rapidly turning into an aged society. However, little research has focused on eating alone and its effect on depressive symptoms, quality of life (QOL), and activities of daily living (ADL) in Korean elderly.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the relationship of eating alone with depressive symptoms, QOL, and ADL in Korean elderly. The study population consisted of 1,111 Korean elderly aged 65 to 80 years (men, 472; women, 639). A chi-square test and Student’s t-test were conducted to compare geriatric functions and QOL between who ate alone and those who ate with others. The association between eating alone and depressive symptoms was analyzed by a multivariate logistic regression analysis, with eating alone/eating with others as the dependent variable. P-value<0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance.
Results: In the study, proportion of those usually eating alone, 76.5% ate with others but lived alone, and 9.6% ate alone but lived with others. In terms of depressive symptoms, QOL, and activities of daily living, higher rates of suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts were found among those eating alone. Also, the higher rate of depressive and anxiety symptoms with statistical significance and the lower rate of mobility was found in the population of eating alone.
Conclusion: Findings revealed that the elderly who ate alone had a higher rate of depressive and anxiety symptoms as compared to those who ate with others.
Keywords: Eating Alone; Korean Elderly; Depression; Anxiety
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