Diet nutrition and health profile of elderly population of urban Baroda.Indian J Public Health 2000 Oct-Dec; 44(4):124-8IJ
Geriatric population forms a significant proportion of our total population. Hence, various problems affecting the overall health of the elderly need special consideration. In this context, studies were undertaken to assess the socio-demographic factors, diet and health profile of 320 elderly men and women of all the three income groups of Urban Baroda. Data on socio-demographic factors was collected using an open ended questionnaire. Nutritional status was assessed using anthropometric measurements of height, weight, mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) and body mass index (BMI). Information on dietary profile was collected by 24 hour dietary recall method. Fasting practices were also studied. Socio-demographic data of geriatric men of high, middle and low income groups revealed that majority of the subjects were married. A greater percentage of high income group (HIG) men had nuclear family whereas majority of low income groups (LIG) elderly men resided in a joint family. Socio-demographic profile of elderly women of all the 3 income groups revealed that most of the subjects were Hindus. The percentage of widowhood, illiteracy and joint family system were higher in LIG as compared to the elderly women in middle and high income groups (MIG and HIG). Nutrient intake data of elderly men of all the income groups revealed lower consumption of energy, protein, iron and beta-carotene as compared to the RDA whereas fats and vitamin C intakes were higher as compared to the RDA (p < 0.05). The mean nutrient intake, by the LIG elderly women, in terms of energy, protein, iron, calcium, beta-carotene and vitamin C were significantly (p < 0.05) lower than the RDA as well as when compared to the elderly women of MIG and HIG. Mean anthropometric measurements of weight and BMI were higher in elderly HIG and MIG men as compared to the elderly men from LIG. Significant difference was found in all the anthropometric measurements of elderly women of LIG as compared to HIG and MIG. Morbidity profile showed a striking rise in problems of oral cavity, cardio vascular disease, neurological problems and problems of gastro intestinal tract with advancing age in both elderly men and women. The study reveals striking differences in diet, health and disease profile with advancing age.