This project will co-create and deliver with older African adults research to understand the determinants of inequalities in nutrition and healthy ageing. We will obtain insights to co-design novel, innovative and culturally tailored interventions to improve nutrition, healthy ageing and quality of life in older African adults.

This project is funded as part of the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Food4Years Ageing Network.

Understanding the food landscape for older adults from Black African communities

Different baskets of fruit and vegetables on display at a market

Individuals from Black African communities (both born in the UK and migrants) often experience a complex nutrition landscape where they sometimes maintain their traditional diets but also adapt some key features of the UK/Western diet and food culture. This presents a complex mix of outcomes for nutrition and health in older age which is not currently well understood. 

Many people from Black African communities living in the UK are also affected by conditions linked to poor lifestyle including diabetes, high blood pressure, overweight and obesity. This often happens in earlier life stages compared to other population groups.

Despite this, there are currently no culturally appropriate interventions or policies in place to support older African adults to meet their nutritional needs as they grow older. This research will provide preliminary evidence on the food landscape for minority ethnic communities, particularly older African adults, and contribute to the evidence base to enable the co-creation of food-based solutions to improve their nutrition, health and quality of life.

Black African community member

Buying African food in the UK is too expensive, which widens the gap in health inequalities. Practical steps for healthy eating on a budget are needed.

Collaborative and community-centred research

The research will embed co-creation with older Black African adults in all stages. We will use collaborative, person and community-centred research methods in order to co-create new culturally-tailored and inclusive interventions that can be implemented to improve and promote nutrition and healthy ageing for older adults from Black African communities.

This will comprise: 

  • Survey - to understand determinants of nutrition and the food landscape of older Black African adults 
  • Photovoice - understand the experiences around food, factors influencing food choice and nutrition needs through photography 
  • Roundtable discussions - co-creation of toolkit with recommendations from key stakeholders including older people, community leaders, policymakers, and nutrition and healthcare professionals 

View an online exhibition of images taken by participants in the study

Project partners

Sharing our learning

We will share the learnings from the project through photography exhibitions, policy briefs, infographics and digital stories.

Our toolkit and recommendations, best practices and other resources from the project will be shared widely via our networks, websites, blogs, social media, publications, academic conferences and training events to optimise reach and further engage the wider community.

A headshot image of Dr Sophia Amenyah

"While disparities in meeting nutritional requirements for older adults from Black African communities are widely acknowledged, there are currently no culturally-appropriate  interventions or policies that support older Black African adults to improve their nutrition, health and quality of life in older age.

The project will provide research evidence on the food landscape for older African adults and key insights and examples of best practice on how to engage equitably with underserved and underrepresented communities to implement inclusive and culturally-tailored research to develop healthy, affordable foods and diets for all older adults”. - Dr Sophia Amenyah