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EARLY IDENTIFICATION OF MALNUTRITION RISK AMONG FREE-LIVING ELDERLY PERSONS IN ATHENS, GREECE

T. Vassilakou, G. Triantafillou, L. Evrenoglou

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2017;6:193-199

Background: Malnutrition is a serious problem, which cannot be easily detected among free-living elderly people, and may lead to various health and social problems and deteriorate their quality of life. Objectives: To determine the prevalence of malnutrition and malnutrition risk among free-living elderly in the community of an urban municipality of Attica and to identify socio-economic, health and dietary factors that may increase malnutrition risk. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Elderly people attending the Open Care Community Centers at N. Philadelphia (an urban municipality of Attica). Participants: 151 free-living people aged over 65 years (78 women and 73 men). Measurements: Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) questionnaire was completed, as well as socio-demographic, medical history, physical activity and alcohol consumption data was collected through a personal interview with the participants. Results: None of the individuals was found to be malnourished, but 25,8% of the sample was at risk of malnutrition. After performing backward regression analysis recent appetite (p<0,009) and weight loss (p<0,003), latest development of psychological stress or acute disease (p<0,0001), number of full-course meals (p<0,0001), protein intake index (p<0,002), minimum daily consumption of 2 portions of fruits or vegetables (p<0,0001), daily consumption of liquids (p<0,004), individual's self-evaluation of health (p<0,0001) and nutritional status (p<0,0001) all correlated significantly with MNA Screening Score. Conclusions: A significant number of free-living elderly persons were found at risk of malnutrition. Several dietary variables were found to correlate significantly with malnutrition risk. Early identification of nutritional risk of malnutrition in the community could ameliorate the nutritional status of seniors and consequently their health and quality of life.

CITATION:
T. Vassilakou ; G. Triantafillou ; L. Evrenoglou (2017): Early identification of malnutrition risk among free-living elderly persons in Athens, Greece. The Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice (JARCP). http://dx.doi.org/10.14283/jarcp.2017.26

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