Poster Topical Area: Global Nutrition

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 551

P12-018 - A qualitative study of factors affecting food choices of the elderly (>60 years) in Chobe District, Botswana

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM


Elderly people in low income settings such as Botswana rely on low quality diets that contribute to poor nutritional status.
Risk of malnutrition and poor nutritional status is present due to physiological changes occurring with aging, poverty and dependency on others for care or access to food.


• To recruit 12* elderly participants aligned to the studies inclusion/exclusion criteria and sampling strategy willing to participate in semi structured interview. Sample size was amended to 12 during the course of the data collection.
• To undertake a total of 8 hours interviews exploring factors influencing participant’s food choice using an interview guide and digital recorder.
• To transcribe the recorded interviews and undertake thematic content analysis on the data to produce common themes that explores the perspectives of the elderly on the factors affecting their food choice.
• To provide recommendations to government agencies and non-governmental organisations in order for them to develop healthy public policies that are likely to improve food choice in the elderly for better health outcomes.


Using interpretivism and social constructionism epistemological approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted to uncover and explore lay perspectives on factors affecting food choices in the elderly population. Purposeful sampling was used to recruit 12 elderly participants above 60 years of age for individual interviews. Thematic content analysis was used to explore factors influencing food choice for these participants.


Three core themes `resources`, `ability` and `nourishment` were identified. “’Resources’’’ spoke about overarching socioeconomic factors influencing food choice in the elderly participants. “’Ability”’ spoke of ability of participants to be able physically and mentally provide food for themselves and understand importance of food choice. “’Nourishment”’ spoke of physical things that participants gained from food, or thought were important when balancing their diet


Eating a nutritionally adequate and healthy diet depends less on individual choices than on food availability and food affordability. Healthy public policies through food and nutrition must extend beyond the health sector to non-health sectors.

Funding Source: The author funded the research.

Obert Dengende

New Hope Private Clinic
Kasane, North-East, Botswana