Background/Aims: Older people are known to be at a disproportionate risk of malnutrition and have an increased risk of developing health problems as a result of inadequate food and nutrition intake. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of nutrition risk amongst independent living older adults >65 years residing in the Waitemata District Health Board catchment, using the Mini Nutritional Assessment – Short Form (MNA-SF) and to identify socio-demographic or health factors associated with nutrition risk.
Methods: Socio-demographic and health data were obtained using a standardised questionnaire completed during a face to face interview. Nutrition risk was assessed using the MNA-SF.
Results: Participants comprised 57 older adults aged 65 to 93 years. Most (93%) had normal nutrition status (MNA-SF score ≥12) whilst 7% were at-risk of malnutrition (MNA-SF score ≤11). The majority of participants with normal nutrition status were NZ European (58%), married (60%) and lived with others (77%), took <5 medications (74%), had fewer (1-3) co-morbidities (70%) and were dentate (42%). Of the 4 participants at risk, all were women, 3 were of Maori and Pacific ethnicity and 3 took ≥5 medications and required support services or daily help.
Conclusion: This study found a low prevalence of nutrition risk in a sample of healthy community-dwelling older adults. Nutrition screening is important to identify those who are vulnerable. Early intervention can help to prevent nutritional and health problems from occurring and to enable older adults to remain active and healthy within the community.
Funding source(s): Massey University