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MALNUTRITION IN A SAMPLE OF COMMUNITY-DWELLING OLDER PENNSYLVANIANS

R.A. DiMaria-Ghalili, Y.L. Michael, A.L. Rosso

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2013;2(1):39-45

Objectives: Determine the prevalence of malnutrition in community-dwelling older adults with an adapted MNA and analyze the association of nutritional status with use of community-based programs. Design: Random digit dial telephone survey. Participants: Probability sample of community-dwelling adults aged 60 years and older living in Southeastern Pennsylvania (n= 3,209 adults). Measurements: Standardized questionnaires were administered by trained interviewers. Scores for each MNA item were derived from survey items (food intake, mobility, psychological stress and hospitalization, depression, height and weight). Results: Thirty-eight percent of older adults were well nourished (n = 1,168), 56.3% (n=1,740) were at-risk, and 5.9% (n = 183) were malnourished. Malnourished older adults were more likely to live alone, reside in the city, receive food stamps, have no usual source of health care, and report fair and poor self-rated health (p < .05). Malnourished older adults were more likely to use transportation services (Odds Ratio (OR) = 2.19 [95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.47, 3.25]) and housing services (OR = 2.83 [95% CI: 1.80, 4.46]). Conclusion: This is the first study to use the MNA in a probability sample of older adults in the U.S. Our results have important health and policy implications related to providing services to malnourished older adults. In our sample, malnourished older adults were less likely to have a usual source of health care, but were more likely to use transportation and housing services. Agencies providing community-based services could incorporate nutrition screening programs to help identify the most vulnerable older adults.

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