The prevalence of diabetes increases with age, which is also a determinant of nutrition therapy
adherence. This descriptive study was conducted in a non-random sample of 66 patients aged between
47 and 75 years (M=61.5; SD=8.0) receiving health care in a Diabetes Clinic in the municipality
of Faro, in the Portuguese region of the Algarve. We aimed to assess the association between age
and the clinical characteristics of type 2 diabetes and to analyze the perceptions regarding the barriers
to an adequate diet. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) (r=-0.372, P<0.001) showed a negative correlation
with age, suggesting that older patients have a better glucose control. Older age is also correlated with
a higher number of daily meals (r=0.263) and lower intake of energy (r=-0.334), protein (r=-0.249), sugars (r=-0.301), and
water (r=-0.223). Forty-six patients (69.7%) had a mean excess energy intake of 384 kcal (SD=630.2), when compared
with individual nutritional energy estimated requirements. Excess energy intake was uncorrelated with age (r=-0.138,
P=0.269). Older patients also seem more confused with the nutrition information they received (r=0.248) and feel that
they need more advice on what is a proper diet (r=0.242). Nutrition education interventions in this population must be tailored
in order to address these factors.
Keywords: Ageing, nutrition, type 2 diabetes, diabetes management, diabetes self-management education.
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