A Location-aware nutritional needs prediction tool for type II Diabetic patients: case Kenya

Karega, Lulu Amina
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Strathmore University
Diabetes is a chronic disease caused by a lack of insulin production by the pancreas or by poor utilization of the insulin that is produced, with insulin being the hormone that helps glucose get to blood cells and produce energy. Urbanization and busy day to day schedules mean patients tend to pay little or no attention to their dietary habits which results in a preference for fast foods and processed food. The prevalence of type II diabetes in the world, Kenya included, has been steadily rising over the years and is projected to keep growing at an alarming rate. Diabetes if not properly managed can result in long-standing, costly and time-consuming complications. Diabetes management and control of blood sugar levels are generally done by the use of medication, namely insulin and oral hypoglycemic agents. However nutritional therapy can also go a long way to boosting the general health of a patient and reducing risk factors leading to further complications. Personalised nutrition has been formally defined as healthy eating advice, tailored to suit an individual based on genetic data, and alternatively on personal health status, lifestyle, and nutrient intake. Diabetes management falls under the field of health informatics that can benefit from data analytics. Predictive analytics is the process of utilizing statistical algorithms, software tools and services to analyze, interpret and visualize data with the aim to forecast trends, and predict data patterns and behavior within or outside the observed data. This study sought to develop a location-aware nutritional needs prediction tool for type II diabetic patients in Kenya. The prediction tool would help both nutritionists and patients by providing accurate and relevant nutritional advice that would help in dietary changes to combat type II diabetes with the added benefit of being location aware. The tool will use pathological results from nutritional testing to support nutritional therapy. If any deficiencies are identified from the provided nutritional markers, food items likely to improve those nutrient levels will be recommended. The amount of nutrient available in a given food item are determined by the food composition table for Kenya as published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in conjunction with the Kenyan government. The study used a simplistic implementation of matrix factorization to provide predictions of locally available food items, down to the county level.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Information Technology At Strathmore University