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Program objectives

As a result of participating in the Chef Charles Club, older adults will:

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and calcium-rich foods;
  • Be more physically active each day;
  • Prepare and cook foods safely; and
  • Report fewer problems having enough money to buy the food they need.

Who may participate?

Chef Charles is designed for adults, 60 years of age or older, who participate in congregate meals. Congregate meal sites may access program materials below. Materials are provided by the Nutrition Network ad no additional charge if 50 percent or more of meal site participants have incomes at or below 185% of the federal poverty level.

  • For information about starting Chef Charles at your meal site, contact Marilyn Jones, (515)281-6047.

You may also use the Contact Us page to submit question online.

Why have a nutrition education program for older adults?

Many older adults are not consuming a diet that reflects the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Only 24 percent of older Iowans age 65 to74 reported eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables daily according to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS, 2007). Approximately one-third of this same age group is obese. The demographic group with the highest prevalence of people over their healthy weight is people age 55 to 64 years; 74 percent of this group is either overweight or obese.

Poor nutritional status hastens many diseases associated with aging. As older adults chronically consume an inadequate diet, they are more likely to have an unhealthy weight, experience decline in both mental and physical health, and have a higher risk of dying.

Iowa's aging population

Persons over 60 years of age represent 19 percent of Iowa's population. In 2008, Iowa had 725 individuals over 100 years of age.

Older adults want to stay healthy and active so they can remain living in their own homes and good nutrition has a role in helping achieve this goal.