Asamane, EA, Greig, CA and Thompson, JL (2020) Social networks and their influences on nutrient intake, nutritional status and physical function in community-dwelling ethnically diverse older adults: a mixed-methods longitudinal study. BMC Public Health, 20 (1). ISSN 1471-2458

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BACKGROUND: The United Kingdom population is ageing and becoming increasingly diverse; thus, it is vital to develop and implement interventions supporting this population shift. Social networks (SN) significantly impact health outcomes in later life, however relatively little is known about SN of community-dwelling ethnically diverse older adults. This study aimed to: 1) profile SN and changes in SN in this population over 8 months; 2) examine associations between SN, dietary intake, nutritional status, and physical function. METHODS: SN were assessed using the Wenger Practitioner Assessment of Network Type. Energy and nutrient intakes were measured using multiple-pass 24-h recalls. The Mini Nutritional Assessment-Short Form (MNA-SF) assessed nutritional status. Physical function was measured using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) and handgrip strength. Data were collected at baseline and 8-months. Correlation and regression analyses examined relationships between SN, physical function, nutrient intake and nutritional status. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at baseline (n = 92) and follow-up (n = 81) to identify potential influences of SN. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using directed content analysis. RESULTS: Quantitative data were obtained from 100 participants at baseline and 81 at follow-up. Mean (SD) age was 70.8 (8.1) years (59% male), comprising African/Caribbean (60%), South Asian (34%), and other ethnicities (6%). Five SN typologies were identified under two broad areas: integrated-SN consisting of locally integrated (44%) and wider community (8%); and non-integrated-SN consisting of family dependent (25%), local self-contained (17%), and private restricted (6%). At follow-up, 37% remained in non-integrated networks, 19% transitioned to non-integrated networks, 11% transitioned to, and 33% remained in, integrated networks. Participants within integrated networks at baseline had higher SPPB scores at follow-up. Compared to the private restricted, local self-contained SN significantly predicted zinc, riboflavin and vitamin B6 intakes. Participants remaining in, or transitioning to, non-integrated networks had low MNA-SF scores. Qualitative findings indicate that participants with reductions in SN perceived it as causing poorer physical function and eating behaviours. CONCLUSION: In the present study, integrated SN were associated with higher physical function and nutritional status at 8-month's follow-up. These results can inform the design of interventions to improve social networks, physical function and healthy nutrition within this population.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: Social networks; Ethnic minority; Diversity; Super-diverse; Physical function; Nutrients; Nutritional status; Qualitative
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General) > R735 Medical education. Medical schools. Research
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Primary, Community and Social Care
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Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2020 15:18
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2020 09:25

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