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Student Contribution  |   January 2005
Blood Glucose Correlations With Depression, Body Habitus and Caregiving Status in the Elderly Kenyan Luo Grandparents
Author Affiliations
  • Gillian Ice, AB, PhD, MPH
    Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM), Department of Social Medicine, Athens, OH 45701
Article Information
Geriatric Medicine / Psychiatry
Student Contribution   |   January 2005
Blood Glucose Correlations With Depression, Body Habitus and Caregiving Status in the Elderly Kenyan Luo Grandparents
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, January 2005, Vol. 105, 28. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2005.105.1.28
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, January 2005, Vol. 105, 28. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2005.105.1.28
Background: In this study, participants in an established study that evaluated grandparents caring for their orphaned grandchildren due to the high HIV/AIDS in the Western Kenyan Luo community were examined to identify a possible correlation between depression and non–insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) within this population. 
Hypotheses: (1) Fasting glucose will be correlated with depression scores; (2) fasting glucose will be correlated to body habitus; and (3) fasting glucose means will differ between caregiving (CG) and non-caregiving (non-CG) grandparents. 
Method: A convenient sample of 103 elderly Luo grandparents older than 60 years from the Nyando District in the Nyanza Province in Western Kenya was used in this study. The revised John Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 Depression Scale was used to identify depressed participants. Anthropometric measurements and one blood glucose measurement (either postprandial or fasting) was taken for each participant. 
Results: No significant correlation with blood glucose level and the revised HSCL-25 scores was observed. There were significant correlations with blood glucose level and body habitus. There was also a 23.17 difference between the basic fasting glucose level means for the CG group and the non-CG group. 
Discussion: The revised HSCL-25 scores may have been a poor measure for depression in this elderly population, leading to an insignificant correlation between blood glucose levels and the revised HSCL-25 scores. A positive correlation between the blood glucose level and the body habitus were expected. The difference between the basic fasting glucose level means for the CG group and non-CG group was also expected. 
Limitations: A small sample size, random blood glucose measurements, and the traditional Kenyan diet could have limited the results in the study. 
Future Research: In the future, this study will evolve to examine the correlation between NIDDM and self-reported depression by diagnosing individuals with NIDDM and increasing the sample size. 
This project was funded by an OU-COM Research Award and The Research and Scholarly Advancement Fellowship Program. The authors thank the field workers in Kenya: Fred Awili; John Ochello; Jared Onyongo; Fred Ombete; Yuanita Hongo, MA.