Grantham Scholar Brenda Mogeni’s project aims to better understand the process of biofortification and its impact on elderly adults’ diets.
The Ph.D. project is centered on a critical issue in public health investigating the intersection of biofortification and health inequalities. One of the factors associated with health inequalities is aging, and we are focusing on elderly adults. The research aims to determine whether the consumption of biofortified foods affects nutrition-related outcomes among this aging population. Older adults are at risk of malnutrition due to reductions in food intake potentially causing deficiencies in important nutrients. Ensuring adequate nutrition for elderly individuals becomes paramount.
Biofortification is the process of enhancing the nutritional value or content of edible parts of crops through transgenic or biotechnological methods, conventional breeding, and agronomic practices, to address malnutrition in vulnerable populations. As a public health intervention, it has proven to be the most sustainable, economical, cost-effective, and long-term strategy to address nutritional inadequacies.
The study commences with a comprehensive Systematic review whose goal is to review studies related to consumption of biofortified foods and nutrition outcomes in elderly people. The aims of this review are (1) review the literature on the effects of Biofortified foods on nutrition-related outcomes among elderly adults and (2) evaluate the effects of biofortified foods on nutrition-related outcomes among elderly adults.
This yields critical information on what biofortified foods are available, accessible, context-appropriate, essential micronutrients crucial for elderly people, associated health outcomes considering factors, and the potential impact on the reduction of health inequalities.
In addition, the project is dedicated to assessing the feasibility and acceptance of biofortified foods among the aging population. Extensive surveys, qualitative research, and sensory evaluations will be conducted to gauge perception, and preference regarding the biofortified food items, and barriers faced by this demographic group. This plays a crucial role in shaping consumer attitudes and influencing the adoption of biofortified foods.
A significant portion of the research will delve into the physiological and health impacts of biofortified foods on the aging population. Interventional studies will be conducted to assess the consumption of these crops and their effects on addressing health outcomes such as bone health, cognitive function, immune system support, physical activity, and psychological health. The findings provide valuable insights into the potential of biofortification as a preventive measure against malnutrition-related ailments among older adults. Additionally, this is instrumental in integrating biofortified foods into a care home environment that aligns with the taste preferences, and cultural norms of the target demographic, ensuring higher acceptance and consumption rates.
In essence, the Ph.D. research not only will advance the scientific understanding of biofortification but also it will pave the way for practical, sustainable, consumer-oriented solutions. By bridging the gap between scientific innovation, societal acceptance, and policy advocacy, the project will provide a comprehensive framework for addressing key public health challenges faced by the aging population. Thereby facilitating the widespread adoption of biofortified crops contributing to improving the health and quality of life of the aging population, making a substantial impact on public health outcomes.