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Dining Alone and Heart Disease Risk

Study finds an increase in heart disease risk for older women who dine alone.

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Older woman dining alone

There really might be such a thing as a lonely-hearts club. A study published in Menopause found that the older women dining alone were 2.58 times more likely to have angina, a symptom of coronary artery disease.

Angina is pain or discomfort that feels like pressure or squeezing in the chest, caused by a lack of adequate blood going to the heart. Women ages 65 and older who ate more than two meals a day alone were assigned to an eating-alone group, and those who ate more than two meals a day with others were assigned to an eating-with-others group. After analyzing the data, researchers also concluded that women dining alone also had less overall knowledge about food labels and nutritional requirements and were at a greater risk of not meeting their nutrition needs.

Based on these findings, we should be encouraging older clients, both women and men, to maintain social networks and reiterate the importance of breaking bread with others.

See also: Rethink Dining Alone

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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