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Background of the Study

According to world health organization (WHO, 2003), Diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or an organism. Diet may also be modified and used for persons who are ill as part of their therapy (Therapetical diet). Diet is the usual food or drink consumed by an organism (person or animal) (Njoku, 2012). Dietary intakes are the habitual decision an individual makes when choosing what food to eat. Dietary intake also implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight management. Individual’s dietary choice may be more or less healthy, proper nutrition requires the proper ingestion and absorption of food nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and food energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins and fats (Alderman and Garcia, 2000).

“Diabetes” comes from Greek word “siphon” Aretus the cappadocian, a Greek physician during the second century A.D named the condition diabainein (Bakhru, 2012). He described patients who were passing too much water (polyuria), as a siphon. The word became “diabetes” from the English word adoption or the Medieval Latin diabetes. Diabetic patients have no or little ability to produce the hormone insulin and are entirely dependent on insulin injection for survival. Management should consider nutrition, physical activity and pharmacologic therapies, i.e. the study of the use of drugs (Anderson and Prior, 2008).

Joshi and shubanginia (1992) stated that diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes is one of the most serious diseases affecting humanity. Its incidence has increased alarmingly and has affected 18 million Indians (Garrow, James and Ralph, 1999).

According to Sumati and Mudambi, (2000), Diabetes mellitus is a genetic disease of metabolism in which there is a partial or total inability of the body to synthesize insulin which is characterized by partial loss of ability or complete inability of the tissue to use carbohydrates, hyperglycemia (an excess of glucose in the blood stream), glycosuria (the presence of glucose in the urine in abnormally large amounts) and excess urination occur. It is a chronic degenerative disease in which the body lacks the normal ability to metabolize glucose.

Martin (2002) sees diabetes as any disorder of metabolism causing excessive thirst and the production of large volumes of urine. Diabetes is a disease characterized by chronic high levels of glucose in the blood which promote excretion of glucose in the urine due to either rise or fall in insulin blood concentration above or below 0.1 percent resulting in the entering of glucose into the cells rapidly or stowing (Phyllis, Sullivan and Hovel, 2000).

Diabetes mellitus simply referred to as diabetics is a group of metabolic disease in which a person has high blood sugar either because the blood does not produce enough insulin or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. Classical symptoms are polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger). (David, Gardener and Dolores, 2011). Therefore, the diet should not be unusually high in fats and low in carbohydrates as this could result in a disease called ketosis due to accumulation of ketone bodies in the body tissues. (Fredrick and Margaret, 2001)

A well planned diet together with proper attention ensure that diabetics enjoy a high quality of life (www. Diabetics. Diet-net, 2008), therefore, diabetic diets is more than just cutting down on starch or sugar and eating the same food day after day. Although all diabetic patients are to avoid all food that contains sugar such as pastry, candy and other simple carbohydrates such as white flour. (American Diabetes Association,2001)

Diabetes mellitus requires calorie restriction so as to reduce glucose uria or a low- calories diet to prevent ketacidosis. Studies indicate that there may be just as many undiscovered diabetes and twice as many as may be on the verge of getting it. Undiscovered hence untreated diabetes is one of the main causes of further complications such as loss of limbs due to impairment of nerves and loss of vision due to retinal detachment. Diabetes is not a disease, which can be cured. It can only be kept under control by the patient with the help of the nutritionist assisted by the physician. The problems of diabetic patient occur when there is energy imbalance in food intake. When people eat more than they need it will result to overweight and obesity, which is 10-20 % overweight, then obese is 20 % above the average. As a result, diabetic patients do encounter such health complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, kidney problems, blindness or vision problems etc.

Statement of the Problem

Diabetes mellitus commonly known as diabetes is one of the prevailing diabetes affecting humanity. One major problem of diabetic patients is their lack of proper food knowledge. Inability to make proper food nutrients combination or proper food choice and this has really led to the complications they encounter such as stroke, heart diseases, kidney damage, over weight hypertension, eyes blindness etc in the course of managing the disease. Also, most of them pay great attention to the drugs they take not knowing that food choice and eating habit is a necessity in the management of this diet related disease.

Moreso, availability of resources is mostly scarce hindering them from getting the right kind of diet and thus they often get frustrated and this has greatly increased the high incidence of complication and mortality recorded with the diseases. Thus the research is working on improving dietary intake of diabetic patient in Ikwo Local Government Area Ebonyi State.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to identify the various ways for improving dietary intake of diabetes patients; specifically the study tends to:

  1. Examine the causes of diabetes.
  2. Determine the health implication of diabetic patients in Ikwo Local Government Area.
  3. Assess the dietary intake of diabetic patients in Ikwo Local Government Area.
  4. Ascertain the problems encountered by diabetic patients in the area of study in the provision of their foods.
  5. Examine the ways of enhancing and balancing dietary intake of foods by diabetic patients.

Significance of the Study

This research will be of great benefit to diabetic patients, the society, the government, health care professionals and families.

This study will be of great benefit to diabetic patients because they will be better educated on the kind of diets they will have to consume, such as diets rich in iron, protein etc., in order to live a healthy life. Diabetic patients will also appreciate why they should avoid much intake of some food such as carbohydrates and fats, because diets tend to raise their sugar level and create complications to their health.

The society will also benefit from this study because they will also be better educated on the causes of diabetes (excess intake of sugar), the symptoms and ways of avoiding such. Thereby eating appropriate foods nutrients.

The government will also benefit from this study because it will enable them educate more people on how to prevent and manage diabetes through its various health agencies such as hospitals, clinics and teaching hospitals. The government through this study will also be able to provide support services such as blood screening for sugar level for diabetic and non-diabetic patients in order to provide prevention services in its various health institutions.

Healthcare professionals will benefit from this study because they will be better positioned on issues regarding management of diabetic patients as health care providers.

Families will benefit because they will be more aware of what causes diabetics and will be better educated on how to manage cases of diabetes in their families, such as providing the right kind of food for such persons in their home.

Scope of the Study

The study is delimited on the improving dietary intake of diabetic patients in lkwo local Government Area Ebonyl