Background/Aims: Malnutrition increases risk of falls, fractures, poor wound healing and adds substantial cost to resident care due to the burden of identification, treatment and monitoring of malnutrition in aged-care. Meat and dairy are good protein sources so inadequate intakes will contribute to malnutrition.
Methods: We assessed dietary intake in 215 ambulant aged-care residents from 21 facilities (70.2% females, mean age 85.8 years). Foods were analyzed for nutrient content using FoodWorks. Food serves were based on the Australian Guide to Health Eating. Nutrition risk was determined using the Mini Nutrition Assessment tool. Protein requirement was based on Australian standards. Data was analyzed using robust regression.
Results: 68% of residents were malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. Mean MNA score was 21.6±3.7. Dietary protein intake was 55.6±16.1g (86.7±27.8% of recommended). Residents consumed on average 1 serve of each meat and dairy daily. Number of dairy (p<0.001) but not meat serves related to proportion of recommended protein intake; one more dairy serve would contribute 14% to recommended levels, so on average, residents would meet protein needs. Both number of dairy (p<0.001) and meat (p<0.05) serves contributed to MNA score; 1 additional dairy serve would contribute 4 points on the MNA, meat 1 point; on average residents achieve normal nutrition status with the dairy serve.
Conclusions: Including at least one additional dairy serve on menus at aged-care facilities, will reduce malnutrition, and so, potentially the comorbidities and cost associated with malnutrition.
Funding source(s): Dairy Australia on behalf of international dairy consortiums.