Malnutrition risk and perception on dietary practices among elderly living in agricultural settlements: A mixed-methods research

Norain Zainudin (Kulliyyah of Allied Health Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia)
Aliza Haslinda Hamirudin (Kulliyyah of Allied Health Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia)
Nor Azlina A. Rahman (Kulliyyah of Allied Health Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia)
Suriati Sidek (Kulliyyah of Allied Health Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Publication date: 8 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to identify malnutrition risk and perception of malnourished and at-risk elderly individuals on their dietary practices.

Design/methodology/approach

In Phase 1, a cross-sectional study was conducted among 413 elderly individuals aged 60 years and above in agricultural settlements in Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia. Malnutrition risk was assessed using the Mini Nutritional Assessment Short-Form (MNA-SF). In Phase 2, in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted among 21 elderly individuals identified in Phase 1. The interviews ceased when data saturation was achieved.

Findings

25.7 per cent (n = 106) of elderly individuals were identified as malnourished and at-risk (MNA-SF score = <12). Age, smoking, income and living status were significantly associated with malnutrition risk (p < 0.05). Thematic analysis revealed four themes that represent elderly individuals’ perception on their dietary practices: the impact of aging on dietary intake; food restriction according to health condition; poor dietary intake due to feeling of loneliness; and perceived benefits of foods for health.

Research limitations/implications

Strategies from multidisciplinary healthcare professionals to eliminate improper dietary practice are required for the maintenance of health, functional independence and quality of life among the elderly.

Originality/value

This research is at the forefront in reporting the elderly individuals’ perception on dietary practice in agricultural settlement. Attention to individual’s health issues and the associated factors that may influence their dietary practices is essential to provide appropriate interventions to achieve optimum nutritional status and healthy aging.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by Research Initiative Grant Scheme (RIGS 15-033-0033), International Islamic University Malaysia. The funder has no role in the study design; data collection, analysis and interpretation; manuscript writing and submission. The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest pertaining to this study. We were grateful to the elderly people who have been involved in this research. We thank the FELDA representatives for extending full cooperation in recruiting the participants.

Citation

Zainudin, N., Hamirudin, A.H., A. Rahman, N.A. and Sidek, S. (2019), "Malnutrition risk and perception on dietary practices among elderly living in agricultural settlements: A mixed-methods research", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 49 No. 4, pp. 617-627. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-07-2018-0218

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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