The Effectiveness Of Dietary And Lifestyle Intervention In Persons With Major Lifestyle Related Chronic Diseases At The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital


Background: The global prevalence of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) continues to rise, accounting for over 71% of all global death and responsible for over 40% of pre-mature death (death occurring before the age 70 years). Low and middle income countries (LMIC) are expected to suffer the brunt of this epidemic, leading to high rates of disease, death and disability adjusted live years (DALYs). Most NCD’s and their shared risk factors are preventable through lifestyle modifications, mainly regular physical activity, consumption of healthy diet, cessation of smoking and moderate use of alcohol. The main lifestyle indicator for the prevention of NCD’s, however, is intake of healthy diet with emphasis on the regular intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy products, low saturated and trans-fat and high mono and polyunsaturated fat. Dietitians are the health care professionals specially trained to apply nutritional science in providing evidence based dietary intervention to prevent and manage various NCDs mainly through counselling. The dietetics profession and practice is evolving in Ghana, with a number of health care facilities currently resourced with dietitians. Patients are increasingly being referred by physicians to dietitians, to assist in the management of their various conditions. Information on the common conditions that get referred to dietitians in Ghana is, however, scanty. There is also paucity of information regarding patient’s attitude towards such referrals and potential challenges they face in their effort to seek dietetic care. In addition, evidence is lacking on the effectiveness of the dietary intervention patients receive on their measurable health outcomes. These gaps in the practice of Dietherapy in Ghana informed this research. Aim: The study had 2 phases. The primary aim for phase one was to identify the major lifestyle-related chronic diseases referred to the Dietherapy Department of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), the major referral tertiary facility in Ghana. The primary aim iii for phase two was to audit the effectiveness of the routine dietary and lifestyle intervention given to patients at the Dietherapy Department of the KBTH on their dietary habits, alcohol intake, physical activity habits, smoking habits, anthropometry, body composition, blood pressure and biochemical indicators. Method: Phase one was a cross-sectional study. Phase two was a clinical audit which followed a longitudinal study design. The Dietherapy Department of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital was the study site for both phases. Eligible participants were newly referred adult patients, referred by a medical doctor, who consented to participate. Nutrient and usual dietary intake were assessed using 24-hour dietary recall interviews for 2 days (1 weekday and 1 weekend) and a validated Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) respectively. Anthropometry (height and weight for BMI, waist and hip circumference for waist-hip circumference ratio), body composition (percentage body fat, visceral fat, skeletal muscle, total body water) and blood pressure were measured. Biochemical indices (serum total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLc), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLc), triglycerides, C-reactive protein, fasting plasma glucose and 2-hour plasma glucose) were determined. All measurements were done at baseline and repeated at 3 and 6 months follow-up. Dietary and lifestyle intervention were based on the department’s protocols developed from international guidelines for chronic disease management, especially National Cholesterol Education Programme and International Diabetes Federation, as well as the dietary approach to stop hypertension (DASH) and Mediterranean diets. All patients were counselled at baseline and reiterated at reviews. Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 20 was used to analyze the data at a 95% confidence interval. Descriptive statistics (means, median, standard deviation, ranges) were used to summarize continuous variables such as anthropometric indices and blood pressure. Chi square was used to analyze categorical data. Differences between means at baseline and iv follow-up were determined using analysis of variance (ANOVA) for repeated measures and independent sample t-test. Multiple linear and logistic regression analysis were done to determine the predictors of the variability of variables that significantly changed in the course of the study.


A total of 339 patients participated in the cross-sectional study. A sub-sample of 132 were followed up for 6 months with 60 patients completing at 6 months. Hypertension (48.1%), was the major diet related chronic condition referred to the Dietherapy Department. It was followed by diabetes (44.8%), dyslipidemia (38.1%) and obesity (24.8%). Half (50.1%) of patients who were referred delayed in assessing dietary care mainly because the Department had closed when they got there on the same day of referral. Alcohol intake, smoking and physical activity levels of patients were all generally low at baseline and did not change markedly after 6 months. The proportion of patients who engaged in moderate physical activity, however, increased significantly at 6 months (61.7%; P < 0.001) compared to baseline (30.3%). Patients’ body mass index (BMI) and educational level predicted 13% of the variability in physical activity habits. Normal weight and overweight patients had 55% (p = 0.172, CI: 0.235- 1.296) and 40% (p = 0.015, CI: 0.194 – 0.840) odds of not engaging in physical activity respectively, compared to obese patients. The odds of patients with no formal education, primary education or secondary education not engaging in moderate physical activity was 19 (p < 0.001, CI: 3.686 – 99.604), 3 (p = 0.009, CI: 1.316 – 6.924) and 2 (p = 0.358, CI: 0.629 – 3.608) times that of those with tertiary education respectively. Carbohydrate and dietary fibre intake increased significantly (p = 0.010, p = 0.025) respectively, between baseline and 6 months. This was attributed to the addition of whole grains and fruits to the usual diets of patients. Daily intake of total fat, protein and sodium decreased by 6 months but were not statistically significant (p = 0.195, p = 0.132, p = 0.430) respectively. Total daily energy intake did not change significantly v throughout the study (p = 0.344). Body mass index and visceral fat decreased significantly (p < 0.001, p = 0.005) respectively, between baseline and 3 months. The decreases were sustained at 6 months (p = 0.001, p = 0.003) respectively. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure remained unchanged despite pharmacological treatment and lifestyle modification (137 ± 26 mmHg; p = 0.867) and (88 ± 15 mmHg; p = 0.925) respectively. Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) significantly decreased (p = 0.044) between baseline and 3 months and was sustained at 6 months (p = 0.001). Two-hour glucose also significantly decreased at 6 months (p = 0.001). Both fasting and 2-hour glucose were predicted by waist-hip circumference ratio. High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol increased significantly at 6 months (p = 0.045). The variability in HDL was explained by patients’ percentage body fat, LDLc, triglyceride and serum total cholesterol in a multiple linear regression model.


The commonest NCDs seen at the Dietherapy Department were hypertension followed by diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia and obesity in decreasing order. Routine dietary and lifestyle intervention given to patients with NCDs at the Dietherapy Department of the KBTH led to improvement in a significant number of the measurable outcomes. These improvements have the potential to reduce their related complications if maintained on the long term. Physicians must therefore be encouraged to refer more patients for dietetic care

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Steele-Dadzie, R (2021). The Effectiveness Of Dietary And Lifestyle Intervention In Persons With Major Lifestyle Related Chronic Diseases At The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

Steele-Dadzie, Rebecca "The Effectiveness Of Dietary And Lifestyle Intervention In Persons With Major Lifestyle Related Chronic Diseases At The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital" Afribary. Afribary, 12 Apr. 2021, Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.


Steele-Dadzie, Rebecca . "The Effectiveness Of Dietary And Lifestyle Intervention In Persons With Major Lifestyle Related Chronic Diseases At The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital". Afribary, Afribary, 12 Apr. 2021. Web. 19 Jul. 2024. < >.


Steele-Dadzie, Rebecca . "The Effectiveness Of Dietary And Lifestyle Intervention In Persons With Major Lifestyle Related Chronic Diseases At The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital" Afribary (2021). Accessed July 19, 2024.