Assessing dietary pattern and its association with hypertension among the elderly in the Tano North District in the Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana

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June, 2018
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Hypertension has become a major contributor to the burden of cardiovascular related morbidity and mortality in the world. Diet has been identified as one of the key modifiable risk factors in the development of hypertension especially among the elderly in low and middle income countries due to changes in dietary patterns. This study investigated dietary patterns and determined their correlation with hypertension among the aged in Ghana. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among six communities (three urban and three rural) in the Tano North district in Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. Anthropometric measurements including height, weight, Waist-to- height ratio, Body Mass Index, together with clinical assessments (systolic and diastolic blood pressure) were also taken. Habitual pattern of dietary intake was measured using the Food Consumption Score. The FCS was measured based on eight classified major food groups. In all, 198 individuals were enrolled from 205 households visited. Participants were 55 years and above. Analysis revealed 12.6%, 27.3% and 60.1% of food consumption being the prevalence for poor, mild and acceptable dietary patterns respectively. The results also revealed 10.1% and 46.0% prevalence of mild and high blood pressure levels, respectively, among the respondents. A chi square test revealed an association between dietary pattern and high blood pressure level (X22=12.777, p=0.012). Multinomial regression analysis was conducted and associations were measured using crude and adjusted ratios at the 0.05 level of significance. The odds of elderly with poor dietary pattern (food insecure) having mild hypertension was 5.989 (CI, 1.661, 21.598; P=0.006) with association persisting even after controlling for cofounders. No association was however found between acceptable dietary pattern and high blood pressure level after controlling for other potential factors in the regression model. Family History of BP, poor dietary pattern and locality predictedblood pressure status among the study population. Higher diet score (representing healthy diet or food secured) remains a significant protective factor for hypertension (60.1%), attempts should therefore be made to improve upon the living standards of the aged for an improved life. In conclusion, dietary pattern, when modelled with appropriate control is associated with an increased risk of hypertension among the aged.  
A thesis submitted to the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, College of Science, in partial fulfillment of requirement for the Degree of Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics.