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Background: Older adults are known to suffer from chronic illnesses and anemia. Northern indigenous vegetables with high iron content can help reduce the incidence of anemia among older adults with chronic diseases.
Objectives: This study was conducted to explore the effectiveness of local food recipes on anemia among the elderly in Northern Thailand.
Method: This one group pre-post test quasi-experimental design involved the selection of 120 older participants by convenience sampling. The methods included interview, time up and go test, and laboratory tests for hemoglobin and ferritin. The participants then consumed local food recipes for 4 months. After 4 months, interviews, time up and go tests, and laboratory tests were repeated. The data collection instruments were questionnaires of general information and anemia-related symptoms, Mini Nutrition Assessment, Timed up and Go Test, the laboratory analysis for hemoglobin, ferritin and a local food recipes notebook. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and Paired t-tests.
Results: There was no statistical difference in hemoglobin level of the sample group before and after the program. (p>0.05). However, considering the 49 participants with anemia, females had a statistically significant higher of hemoglobin level after treatment than before (t = -2.09, p < .05) and increased in average hemoglobin level. In contrast, for men there were no significant differences. The participants had no statistically significant differences in ferritin level. Females had a statistically significantly higher level of ferritin than before (t = -2.91, p < 0.05) while men had no statistically significant differences.
Conclusion: Therefore, healthcare providers should promote the consumption of local recipes along with fruits high in vitamin C.
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