Anthropometry and dietary intake of the elderly in Eket local government area of Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria.
Background: Nutrition is a crucial element of health in the older population as it affects the ageing process.
Objective: The study assessed the anthropometry and dietary intake of the elderly in Eket local government area (LGA) of Akwa-Ibom state, Nigeria.
Methods: Two hundred elderly persons were selected purposively from six communities in the LGA. A structured questionnaire was used to gather information on; socio-economic and demographic variables. Height, weight, mid upper arm circumference, skinfold, hip and waist circumference measurements were obtained using standard techniques. A 2-day weighed food intake study was conducted and the nutrient intake compared with the recommended daily requirement (RDI) for the age group. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 20 was used to analyze the data from the questionnaire. Chi-square and cross tabulations were used to examine the relationship between the variables.
Results: About 6% of the elderly were underweight, 10% were obese and 21% were overweight. Less than half (40%) of the females and 11% of the males had waist- hip ratio over 0.80cm and 0.90cm, respectively. The energy intake was adequate for both men (161.2%) and women (121.3%). Intake of iron (159.8%), niacin (102.8%), and vitamin C (115.6%), were adequate for men while thiamin (78.6%), riboflavin (72.8%), and vitamin A (79.1%), were low. For the women, intake of protein (129.0%), fat (155.1%), carbohydrate (104.2%), and vitamin C (179.3%) were above RDI while calcium (78.2%), iron (31.6%), vitamin A (81.4%), thiamin (77.5%), riboflavin (68.3%), and niacin (76.7%), intakes were low. There was a significant association (p < 0.05) between occupation, educational status, monthly income and nutritional status of the elderly.
Conclusion: Intakes of calcium, vitamin A, thiamin and riboflavin of both men and women were below requirements. Women had inadequate intake of iron. Older adults especially women were more vulnerable to overweight and obesity.
Keywords: Nutritional status, elderly, dietary intake Akwa- Ibom State, Nigeria