Dietary adequacy in community-dwelling older Chinese adults living in South Florida

Yi-Ling Pan, Florida International University


A challenge facing nutrition care providers and the Chinese community is how to improve and maintain dietary adequacy (DA) and quality of life (QoL) in older Chinese Americans. Little is known about the factors contributing to DA and the relationships between DA and QoL among community-dwelling older Chinese adults in South Florida. A DA model and a QoL model were hypothesized. ^ Structured interviews with 100 Chinese Floridians, ages ≥60, provided data to test the hypothesized models, using structured equation modeling. Participants (mean age ± SD = 70.9 + 6.8 years) included 59% females, 98% foreign-born, 23% non-English speakers, and 68% residents of Florida for 20 years or more. The findings supported the study hypotheses: an excellent goodness-of-fit of the DA model (χ2/DF (7) = .286; CFI = 1.000; TLI = 1.704; NFI = .934; RMSEA < .001, 90% CI < .0001 to < .001; SRMR = .033; AIC = 30.000; and BIC = 66.472) and an excellent goodness-of-fit of the QoL model (χ2/DF (6) = .811; CFI = 1.000; TLI = 1.013; NFI = .979; RMSEA < .001, 90% CI < .001 to .116; SRMR = .0429; AIC = 34.869; and BIC = 73.946). ^ The DA model consisted of a structure of four indicators (i.e. Body Mass Index, food practices, diet satisfaction, and appetite) and one intervening variable (i.e. combining nutrient adequacy with nutritional risk). BMI was the strongest, most reliable indicator of DA with the highest predictability coefficient (.63) and the ability to differentiate between participants with different DA levels. The QoL model consisted of a two-dimensional construct with one indicator (i.e. physical function) and one intervening variable (i.e. combining loneliness with social resources, depression, social function, and mental health). Physical function had the strongest predictability coefficient (.89), while other indicators contributed to QoL indirectly. When integrating the DA model to the QoL model, DA appears to influence QoL via indirect pathways. ^ It is necessary to include a precise measure of BMI as the basis for assessing DA in this population. Important goals of dietary interventions should be improving physical function and alleviating social and emotional isolation. ^

Subject Area

Gerontology|Health Sciences, Nutrition|Health Sciences, Public Health

Recommended Citation

Pan, Yi-Ling, "Dietary adequacy in community-dwelling older Chinese adults living in South Florida" (2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3353587.