Determinants and Functional Impact of Nutritional Status Among Older Persons in Rural Bangladesh
Sammanfattning: Background: Malnutrition is a major problem in Bangladesh. One third of the population in Bangladesh is malnourished, but figures for older persons specifically are scant.Aims: This thesis describes the nutritional status of individuals aged 60+ years, living in a rural community in Bangladesh, with particular focus on the impact of demographic, health and social factors on nutritional status. A main aim is to examine the magnitude of malnutrition in this population. Second, the thesis focuses on the impact of demographic, health and social factors on nutritional status. Third, this thesis also aims to investigate the influence of nutritional status on functional abilities.Methods: A cross-sectional study of people aged 60+ years was conducted in Matlab, a rural area in Bangladesh during 2003-2004. Data were obtained through home interviews, clinical examination and cognitive tests. Nutritional status was assessed using a modified form of the Mini Nutritional Assessment. Physical function was measured by self-reported and performance-based instruments. Cognitive function was assessed using general and specific cognitive tasks. A total of 850 individuals were randomly selected for the purpose of the study, of which 625 participated in the home interviews and 473 underwent clinical examinations and cognitive tests. Information on complete nutritional status was available for 457 individuals.Results: About 26% of older people living in a rural community in Bangladesh were malnourished and 62% were at risk of malnutrition (Studies I-IV). Self-reported health problems (Study I), physician’s diagnoses (Study II), food expenditure (Study I), literacy (Studies I, II), personal income (Study II), female gender (Studies I, II) and financial support (Study II) were significantly associated with nutritional status. Health indicators accounted for the largest variations in nutritional status compared to demographic and socio-economic indicators (Studies I, II). Nutritional status was directly associated with self-reported and performance-based physical functions (Study III), as well as general and specific cognitive functions (Study IV).Conclusion: In low income countries, nutritional status of older persons needs to be addressed both from a health and a socio-economic perspective. Good nutritional status is essential for older persons to be functionally active, both physically and cognitively.
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