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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 36-41

Nutritional status and food environment of the elderly population residing in tea gardens of a block of Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India

1 Department of Community Medicine, North Bengal Medical College, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, MJN Medical College, Coochbehar, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Pallabi Dasgupta
Department of Community Medicine, North Bengal Medical College, Sushrutanagar, Darjeeling - 734 012, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiag.jiag_67_22

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Objectives: In India, poverty, illiteracy, and difficult terrains make the tea garden elderly population more vulnerable to malnutrition. The food environment shows the interface through which consumers interact with their food system. Hence, the present study was done to assess the nutrition status and identify the sociodemographic and food environmental factors affecting the nutritional status of the elderly population residing in tea gardens of Naxalbari block, Darjeeling district, West Bengal, India. Materials and Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted in all tea gardens of Naxalbari block, Darjeeling, from March 2022 to September 2022, among older people aged 60 years and above selected by simple random sampling. Using the predesigned, pretested questionnaire, the Mini Nutritional Assessment tool for nutritional assessment and the elderly population's perceived food environment was determined based on five points Likert's scale. Perceived food environment clusters were identified using a two-stage cluster analysis. Binary logistic regression was used to determine predictors of nutritional status. Results: Out of the 294 study participants, the majority of 190 (64.6%) of the older people were at the risk of malnutrition, 18 (6.1%) malnourished, and 86 (29.3%) had normal nutritional status. Binary logistics regression showed older people who were illiterate (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 14.864; 95% confidence interval [CI]; 4.311–51.457) and not working (AOR 3.775; 95% CI; 1.753–8.128) had significantly higher odds of being undernourished. Older people who perceived a favorable food environment (AOR 0.408; 95% CI; 0.214–0.775) had significantly lesser odds of being undernourished. Conclusion: Tea garden older population is at higher risk of malnutrition. Illiteracy, working status, and perceived favorable food environment plays important role in altering the nutritional status of the elderly. Prior interventions such as awareness regarding food nutrition and developing elderly friendly food environment are needed.

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