FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF THE OLDER PERSONS AGED 65 YEARS AND ABOVE IN TURBO SUB COUNTY, KENYA
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Elderly nutrition is an essential aspect of the aging process. Nutrition has tremendous effects on quality of life as it is characterized by overnutrition and undernutrition. Malnutrition prevalence affects the quality of life among older persons negatively. According to United Nations projections in 2017, there was an estimate of 967 million elderly persons globally. The global malnutrition rates range between 13%-30% among this population. In Kenya, 25% of older persons aged over 65 years are either at risk or undernourished. Prevalence is greater in rural areas where over 30 % of men of older persons are underweight. This study sought to assess factors associated with nutritional status of the elderly in Turbo Sub County, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya. This study’s specific objective was to determine the nutritional status of the older persons above 65 years and factors associated with that nutritional status. This study adopted a cross-sectional survey design. The study employed random sampling to select study sites, while purposive sampling was employed to sample the respondents. The study used an interviewer-administered questionnaire to collect data, MUAC tapes for mid- upper arm length, weight scales, and height meter for BMI assessment. The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis to highlight the odds ratio using a 95% confidence interval. Data was analyzed using Stata v21 data software tool. The key variables used entailed family size, age, gender religion, residence, education, source of income, marital status, gender, smoking, exercise, dietary food intakes, source of income, mid-upper arm circumference as well as body mass index. According to the findings, with reference to the BMI, indicated that 45.6% had normal nutritional status, 5.4% were underweight, 1.5% were severely underweight, and 1.3% were very severely underweight while MUAC assessment indicated that 74% of the respondents had good nutritional status while 26% were malnourished. Factors which were found to be significantly associated with nutritional status of the older persons were age (70-74 years, OR=2.56;95% CI), religion (SDA OR=0.9 and Protestants OR=0.43 compared to Catholics), education (Primary level OR=0.32), source of income, farming (OR= 0.27), alcohol intake (OR=0.81), vegetable intake (Intake of 1-3 times intake OR=3.80) and fruit consumption (intake of 2-4 times intake OR= 0.27). Nutrition plays a vital role among the older persons general health, statistically significant factors associated with nutritional status include age state, religion, education levels, source of income consumption of alcohol, vegetable intake, and fruits consumption. As the source of income plays a crucial aspect in sourcing food for consumption at the household, there is need to motivate and encourage the younger population on benefits of good savings and to invest in income-generating activities which plays a vital role in facilitating nutritious food at the households. Further health promotion on lifestyle behavior change is key towards lifestyle behaviors such as intake of alcohol. Promoting positive behavior among the elderly is key in promoting good nutrition status and overall good quality of life. Moreover, advocacy on increased intake of fruits and vegetables among the elderly is pertinent in promoting and enhancing the body’s ability for elderly protection morbidity.