Nutritional Status of Psychiatric Inpatients at A National Mental Hospital in Kenya

Simon Githui, Paul Wambugu, Dennis Mbithi


Malnutrition among psychiatric patients in mental health units stands at 19%. It is a prevailing health care problem, that is affecting many psychiatry patients and it is a major public health problem especially in public hospitals in Kenya. Nutrition care is therefore an important component of mental health that require keen consideration. The goal of the study was to determine the nutritional status of psychiatric inpatients at a National Mental Hospital in Kenya. A cross-sectional design was used and 200 inpatients were recruited to the study using simple random sampling. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire which was adopted and modified from Short Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire (SNAQ) screening tool. Height and weight of the participants were measured and BMI was calculated. Clearance and approval to conduct the study was sought from University of Eastern Africa-Baraton Ethical Review Committee. Results of the study showed that majority of the participants were being treated for schizophrenia (41.5%) followed by drug induced psychosis at 22%. The results of the study also showed that 59.5% of the respondents were well nourished while a significant 40.5% were malnourished. Among the Malnourished patients, 67% had a BMI above 25.00Kg/M2 and 33% had a BMI below18.50Kg/M2. Malnourishment was associated with use of antipsychotic (P=0.021), use of antidepressants (P=0.018). It was also associated with female gender (P=0.001), abuse of cigarettes (P=0.041), abuse of marijuana (P=0.01), abuse of alcohol (P=0.001) and poor appetite (P=0.032). Nutritional management should be a component of the routine inpatient care of psychiatric patients.

Keywords: Nutritional status, Psychiatric patients, Malnutrition.

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