Dissertation Abstracts

Feeding Patterns and Use of Nutritional Supplement among the Elderly in Oyo State Nigeria

Author: Isaac A. Adedeji, adedejiia@yahoo.com
Department: Department of Sociology
University: University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Supervisor: Dr. Kabiru K. Salami
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English Language

Keywords: Elderly , Feeding patterns , Nutritional Supplement Use , Oyo State Nigeria
Areas of Research: Health , Family Research , Risk and Uncertainty


The elderly are one of the highly vulnerable groups in the society. They are disadvantaged and are faced with severe discrimination. The social exclusion that old people experience is reinforced by the physical and psychological disabilities that accustom ageing. The extent of nutrition problems among the elderly has strong connection with nutrition imperatives. This includes unavailability of food, irregularity of eating, improper and unhygienic food preparation processes and culturally determined food taboos as people age. Hence, unwholesome nutrition practices and nutrition problems have been identified as primary causes of health conditions like cancer, arthritis, diabetes and death. However, newer dimensions of caregiving had been evolved, giving rise to the institutionalization, monetization and de-personalization of elderly care. Evidences in sub-Saharan Africa are not substantive as regards the effectiveness of these new interventions. Also, the use of nutritional supplement is one of the ways to mitigate the negative outcomes of nutrition behaviours, it is however not clear if the elderly use nutritional supplement as a response to perceived or established nutritional inadequacy. This is because, when use of supplement is unguided, over-dependence and abuse are major concerns resulting in health problems like interference with digestion, drug-interactions, side-effects and sometimes death. However, there is a paucity of literature about the adoption and intake of nutritional supplements among the elderly in Nigeria. The Health Belief Model and Max Weber’s Social Action theory were adopted as framework. The study employed the cross-sectional household survey research design and used both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. The elderly in five communities of Oyo State were selected through a multi-stage sampling technique. Using Cochran’s formula, 890 purposively selected elderly persons across Ibadan (189), Ogbomosho (162), Oke-Ogun (162), Oyo (202) and Ibarapa (175) communities, completed the interviewer-administered questionnaire. Data were collected on respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics, feeding patterns, social and cultural factors in feeding patterns, the use of supplement, and the socio-cultural factors in supplement use. Based on current living arrangement, physical functionality and availability of social support, 60 in-depth interviews and 10 case studies were conducted among the elderly. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics (Chi-square and multivariate logistic regression) at P?0.05, while qualitative data were content-analysed. The study therefore intended to identify the changes in the feeding patterns of the Yoruba elderly, since the social outcomes of ageing vary across climes. Also, the roles of available social care structures in relation to food provision, regularity/time of eating, and food types among the elderly were probed. Attempt was made to identify adoption preferences (traditional or modern), social meanings (as food or drug) of nutritional supplement. Hence, the study interrogated these changes vis-à-vis associated social and cultural factors that shaped feeding patterns and nutritional supplements use among the elderly.

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