Food Habits and Micronutrient Status of the Elderly in Rural and Urban Communities in North-East Senatorial Zone of Benue State, Nigeria

F. M Gbeyonron *

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Makuridi, Benue State, Nigeria.

J. N, Chikwendu

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Background: The global population is both growing and ageing quickly, with industrialized nations having the largest share of ageing populations. The world's population is ageing, and many elderly people experience age-related malnutrition, including deficiencies in some micronutrients. Malnutrition in the elderly is a serious condition when the nutritional needs of the elderly do not match their food intake.

Design: A cross-sectional survey was conducted was conducted for 516 respondents among the elderly.

Methodology: A structured and validated questionnaire was utilized to gather information on the socio-economic and demographic characteristics. Food habit was assessed for their weekly household expenditure, meal preparation and no meals consumed per day. Biochemical analysis of blood samples was determined. Data were analyzed using Statistical Product for Service Solution (SPSS) version 20.0. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to determine socio-demographic and food habits. Standard deviation was used to separate means of the micronutrient serum levels and compared with the Recommended Serum Level. A p-value of ≤ 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Most (60.9%) of the respondents were males. About 40.60% and 40.40 elderly were from rural and urban areas within the age bracket of 66 -75 years. Most of the respondents (64.10%) were farmers and derive their income from there. The serum levels of calcium for urban and rural dwellers were 9.15± 2.51 and 9.68± 1.90 mg/dl, sodium was 126.72± 23.32 and 130.96± 40.34 mmol. For iron, were 0.9± 0.09 and 0.87± 0.08 µg/dl. The magnesium values were 2.43± 0.33 and 2.44 ± 0.29, selenium was 0.46± 0.13 and 0.49± 0.11 mg/dl respectively. There was a significant difference (p < 0.05) between the serum iron levels of the urban and rural respondents. There was no significant difference (p > 0.05) in the serum vitamin levels of the urban and rural respondents.

Conclusion: The study found that serum values for some micronutrient levels were adequate among elderly participants from urban and rural areas, but inadequate for sodium, iron, vitamin B12, selenium and vitamin E.

Keywords: Food habits, rural, urban, micronutrient, elderly, nutrition, malnutrition

How to Cite

Gbeyonron, F. M., & Chikwendu , J. N. (2024). Food Habits and Micronutrient Status of the Elderly in Rural and Urban Communities in North-East Senatorial Zone of Benue State, Nigeria. Asian Journal of Food Research and Nutrition, 3(1), 138–147. Retrieved from


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