In this study, we analysed the factors that disrupt the healthy eating habits of the elderly in a suburban city centre in Japan. It was estimated that 49% of the elderly residents in the study area, many of whom were concentrated in the city centre, had poor nutritional condition. Our multilevel analysis indicated that weak ties with family and the local community had a strong effect on a large proportion of the nutritionally depleted elderly residents. Previously, the issue of food deserts was considered to be mainly a problem that affected areas where small neighbourhood shopping areas had closed, thereby making shopping physically difficult for people without private cars. However, our study shows that reduced intimacy in people’s relationships also increases the risk of the presence of food deserts.
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