Determinants of dietary fibre intake amongst the diabetic patients at Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya
Mbugua, Peris Wangui
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Diabetes particuiarly type 2, is reaching epidemic proportions throughout the world as more cultures adopt Western dietary habits. Diet being a major treatment for diabetes, the role played by fibre has become the subject of increased public health attention in recent years. This has come with the realization that high fibre diets are more suitable in the management of diabetes mellitus. While there is no cure for diabetes, it is controllable. If it is not treated correctly, however, it can lead to complications, such as damage to blood vessels, which in turn affect key body organs such as: the eyesight, kidneys, legs and the circulation of blood to the heart leading to stroke and heart attack. Immediate action is needed to stem the tide of diabetes and to introduce an effective treatment strategy to reverse this trend. The study sought to establish determinants of dietary fibre intake among the diabetic patients at Kenyatta national hospital. A descriptive cross sectional study was carried out amongst one hundred and forty diabetic patients seeking treatment at the hospital. Kenyatta national hospital was purposively sampled since it is a public referral hospital that serves patients from all over the country thus expected to have patients form diverse regions and diverse feeding habits. Availability sampling was used to select the sample subjects. Data was collected by use of a structured interview and review of patients records. Quantitative data was analyzed using Social Package for Social sciences (SPSS) software while, qualitative data was described and used to illustrate the main ideas. The findings of the study indicated that 78.6/0 of the patients had a high level of knowledge on what dietary fibre is and 74010 of the patients were aware that it is important for diabetics to eat dietary fibre. Knowledge on what is diabetes and the importance of dietary fibre were highly significant to patients' educational level at (x2=31. 469, df=9,p<0.05) and (x2=19.193, df=9,p<0.05) respectively. Cost also influenced intake of certain foods positively while in others it did so negatively hence, there was a significant relationship between intake of certain food and cost. Unpolished flour intake was positively affected by cost (x2=34.385, df--12, p< 0.05). Apple fruit (x2=89.510, df = 12, p<0.05) and brown rice (xz = 71.575, df =12, p<005) intake were negatively affected by cost as only those spending above Ksh.150 could alTord it on daily basis. Patients' attitude towards dietary fibre was positive as 57.9% believed that it was helpful in management of diabetes while 77.9% believed that it helped in controlling blood sugar. However, cultural influence was attributed to only 100/6 of dietary fibre intake. The study recommends that foods high in dietary fibre should be waived off taxes to make them more affordable to diabetics. There is also need to encourage these patients to consume more vegetables, cereals and fruits as they are rich in dietary fibre.