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It is well known that older adults are often vulnerable to malnutrition. This action research was conducted to develop a nutrition education package for promoting healthy ageing and reducing risk of chronic diseases among older adults in a rural area of Malaysia.
This study was designed and conducted in three stages, including needs assessment, development of the package and analysis of acceptance among 33 older adults aged 60 years and over in rural communities, and 14 health staff members at rural health clinics. Subjects completed a questionnaire including sociodemographic factors and acceptance evaluation of the nutrition education package with respect to content, graphics and design. Data were analysed descriptively using numbers and percentages.
A nutrition education package comprising a booklet, flipchart and placemats was developed. A total of 42.4% of the older adults expressed that the sentences in the flipchart needed to be simplified and medical terms explained. Terminology (60%), illustrations (20%) and nutrition recommendations (20%) were the aspects that prevented elderly subjects from fully understanding the booklet. Information on the placemats was easily understood by subjects.
A well accepted nutrition education package for promoting healthy ageing and reducing risk of chronic diseases was developed that incorporated modifications based on feedback from older adult subjects and health clinic staff in a rural area. It is a tool that can effectively be used for health education in this population.