Social networks, nutrient intake, nutritional status, and physical function of ethnically diverse older adults: a longitudinal mixed methods study


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Asamane, Evans Atiah ORCID: (2020). Social networks, nutrient intake, nutritional status, and physical function of ethnically diverse older adults: a longitudinal mixed methods study. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The United Kingdom (UK) population is ageing and becoming more ethnically diverse. Ethnic minorities experience higher health inequalities and increased prevalence of diet-related diseases as compared to the general population. Social networks (SN), nutrition and physical function are essential components of healthy ageing. Despite this, little is known about these components of healthy ageing within ethnic minority older adults. In this PhD thesis, using a longitudinal mixed-methods design, the profile and changes in social networks, nutrient intake and physical function were explored in 100 community-dwelling, ethnically diverse older adults living in a super-diverse city (Birmingham, UK). Additionally, how these variables were related over time, and factors influencing these variables were examined. In study 1, most participants experiencing changes in SN transitioned from an integrated SN to non-integrated SN (63%), and more importantly, these changes occurred over a relatively short period of eight months. These changes were identified by participants as having influenced their eating behaviours and physical function. In study 2, it was observed that the intakes of most micronutrients across the sample over time was lower than the UK Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNI), suggesting a potentially prolonged nutrient deficiency in this population. In study 3, changes in the factors influencing eating behaviours and physical function were intriguing and differed significantly by socio-demographic characteristics; more men reported negative changes as compared to women at follow-up. Furthermore, most participants considered healthy eating and physical function as separate entities with no relationship. Overall, the findings of this thesis indicate that ethnic minority older adults may experience rapid declines in SN, nutrition and physical function, which could inhibit healthy ageing. Steps towards developing and implementing community and faith-based culturally acceptable interventions to support healthy ageing are urgently needed.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: European Research Council
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine


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