Date of Award

Fall 12-16-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Food Science and Human Nutrition


Mary Ellen Camire

Second Committee Member

Jade McNamara

Third Committee Member

Kathryn Yerxa


The percentage of individuals in the United States who fall within the 65 years and older cohort is anticipated to increase substantially over the next decade due to the large baby boomer generation aging into this category by 2030. Consequently, the healthcare demands of older adults are expected to increase, and medical and healthcare providers must be educated and prepared to meet the unique needs of this population. The purpose of this study is to help learn why interest in FSN 406 Nutritional Care of Older Adults has been so low since its inception in 2020, and whether other institutions offer classes on nutritional care of older adults to students in the nutrition and dietetics field. Two surveys were developed for this study, one for students at the University of Maine and another for members of the Nutrition and Dietetics Educators and Preceptors (NDEP) subgroup of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). Recruitment notices for student surveys were distributed via email to all students enrolled in the Food Science and Nutrition (FSN) program during the 2021-2022 academic year. Inclusion criteria included being over the age of 18 and being enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate FSN program during the 2021-2022 academic year. A total of 17 surveys were completed. Recruitment notices for NDEP surveys were posted to the community's webpage, and members were encouraged to share the recruitment notice with their colleagues. Inclusion criteria included being over the age of 18 and being a member or colleague of the NDEP group. A total of 53 surveys were completed. Student survey results indicated that most FSN students did not take FSN 406 because it was not required for graduation. NDEP survey results indicated that participants felt both undergraduate and graduate-level courses on nutrition for older adults should be taught, though this is not available at all institutions. Further research regarding effective strategies for increasing national student interest levels in nutrition for older adults and making older adult-specific nutrition courses available at a much greater number of institutions is necessary.