Background/aims: The aim of the study was to determine the effect of standard vs protein and energy fortified Meals-on-Wheels (MOW) meals on nutritional and functional status, quality of life and hospital admissions (both number and length of stay/LOS) of community-dwelling nutritionally-at risk elderly.
Methods: Forty-one nutritionally at-risk elderly were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Group 1–energy and protein fortified meals on ≥3 days/week + dietetics counselling; Group 2-standard meals on ≥3 days/week + dietetics counselling; and, Group 3– 1 session of dietetics counselling only. Measurements of outcomes were conducted at baseline and 12 weeks.
Results: Twenty-nine participants aged 83±5.8 years completed the entire 12-weeks study (Group 1=12, Group 2=7, Group 3=10). Although not statistically significant, MNA score was increased by 4 points in Group 1 compared to 2.8 points for Group 2 and 2.4 points for Group 3. Furthermore, LOS in Group 1 and 2 was reduced by -5.4±2.8 days and -5±3.2 days, whereas LOS for Group 3 was not reduced. However, weight gain for Group 3 was comparable to Group 1 and 2 (mean±SEM: Group 1, 0.67±1.23 kg and Group 2, 1.56±0.75 kg vs. Group 3: 0.58±0.79 kg, respectively) and improvement in all other outcomes were also comparable for the three groups.
Conclusions: For the community-dwelling nutritionally-at risk elderly, the provision of protein and energy fortified, compared with the standard, MOW meals, resulted in comparable improvements in nutritional and functional status, quality of life, and hospital admissions (including LOS).
Funding source(s): Meals on Wheels (SA)Inc.