The value of social eating at culturally and linguistically diverse lunch clubs: a descriptive study

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Abstract


Individuals who experience social isolation or loneliness report poorer psychological wellbeing and increased mortality than those who are socially connected. Older culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) immigrants are a subgroup at greater risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness. Many ethnic-focussed organizations in South Australia (SA) facilitate regular shared lunches, or “lunch clubs,” to support older CALD immigrants. This study sought to understand the experiences of attending these lunch clubs, and the extent to which they influence perceived health and wellbeing of attendees. Four focus groups (n = 19) were held with individuals who regularly attended one of four cultural lunch clubs (Greek, Ukrainian, Chinese, Italian) in SA. Focus groups were conducted in English and participant’s native language, with the assistance of accredited interpreters. Focus group transcripts were analyzed following a descriptive qualitative approach. Three themes were identified: A rare opportunity for social interaction, maintaining ties to culture in a foreign country, and fostering health and wellbeing. This study offers insight into lunch clubs as a potential intervention to reduce experiences of social isolation and loneliness in vulnerable populations. Future research is needed to measure the impact on health and wellbeing, and to model the most effective modes of delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalFood, Culture and Society
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • CALD
  • lunch clubs
  • social eating
  • qualitative
  • focus groups
  • loneliness
  • wellbeing
  • aging

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