Nigerian Journal of Nutritional Sciences

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Eating Habits of the Elderly in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria

UM Odenigbo, CU Odenigbo, OC Oguejiofor


Objectives: The study was undertaken to describe the eating habits of literate elderly in Asaba, urban city in Delta State of Nigeria.
Methods: A total of 176 elderly male (62.5%) and female (37.5%) aged 50years and above who attended Medical Lectures of the Ebreme foundation for the elderly were enrolled in this study. Dietary information was collected by means of an interviewer-administered food frequency questionnaire. The SPSS (Statistic Package for Social Science) version 13.0 was used for data analysis.
Results: More than half (52.3%) of the population studied had tertiary education, 73.9% were married and lived with their family members. Their main source of income was retirement pension (71%). This income significantly influenced the amount of money spent on daily meals (Chi square =28.660; P-value 0.018). Their meals were mainly prepared by spouse (56.3%) and however, these meals were reported consumed without salt at table (72.7%). The meal preparation was significantly correlated with their marital status (P<0.05). Only few of the subjects skipped meals at breakfast (22.7%), lunch (20.5%) and
dinner (10.2%). Appetite for food was mainly suppressed by depression (47.2%) and sickness (33.7%). Food frequency survey showed daily consumption of fruit (58.5%), vegetable (74.4%) and starchy staple (56.8%). In terms of quantity, recommended daily servings of different foods, 70.5% and 65.3% of the respondents met their requirements for fruits and vegetable respectively while for starchy staples, 45% did not meet their normal recommended daily servings. Consumption of refined carbohydrate, fatty foods and alcoholic drink by the respondents were low. As much as 60.2% did not consume alcoholic drink. Conclusion: These educated elderly subjects portrayed healthy eating habits. However, it will be necessary to conduct similar survey among rural and illiterate elderly subjects.

Key words: Eating habits, literate elderly, Asaba, Nigeria.
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