Health and Dietary Patterns of the Elderly in Botswana

Segametsi Maruapula, Karen Chapman-Novakofski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To describe associations among socioeconomic conditions and dietary patterns of Botswana elderly. Design: Secondary analysis from a cross-sectional nationwide survey. Participants: Subjects (N = 1086, 60-99 years old) were selected after multistage sampling. Main Outcome Measures: Dietary patterns were dependent variables; health and socioeconomic variables were independent variables. Analysis: Factor analysis with varimax rotation; least squares regression. Results: The most widely consumed food items were tea (91%), sorghum (82%), and maize-meal (63%). Five dietary patterns emerged: beer; meat/fruit; vegetable/bread; seasonal produce; and milk/tea/candy patterns. Elderly women, those attending church, and those living with grandchildren were less associated with the Beer Pattern. The Vegetable and Bread Pattern was more common among grandparents living with children and those living in towns (urban). Widowed elders were less likely to consume meat/fruit (P < .005). Half had a large family size (6 to 10 children), with about 30% supporting 1 to 5 children. Conclusions and Implications: Dietary patterns suggested both food to be emphasized in nutrition education programs and those who may benefit most. Nutrition education efforts in Botswana should focus on improving food diversity, with particular targeting of widowed elderly and those in rural areas, and on increasing vegetable, fruit, meat, and milk intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • dietary patterns
  • elderly
  • international nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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