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NUTRITIONAL STATUS BUT NOT VITAMIN DEFICIENCIES ARE ASSOCIATED WITH LOW FUNCTIONAL SCORES

F. O’Leary, M. Allman-Farinelli, P. Petocz, S. Samman

J Aging Res Clin Practice 2013;2(2):216-220

Objectives: To investigate relationships between selected vitamins, nutritional status and functional outcomes. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Sub-acute geriatric rehabilitation hospital. Participants: 146 newly admitted rehabilitation patients. Measurements: Nutritional assessment using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) tool, vitamins B12, D and folate concentrations. Length of stay and Functional Independence Measure data were collected from discharge medical records. Results: Age was 83 ± 7 (mean ± sd) years and BMI 25 ± 6 kg/m2. The majority (80%) of subjects were malnourished or at risk of malnutrition and 20% of them had 2 or more vitamin concentrations below the reference range. Vitamin D < 50 nmol/L was found in 55%, vitamin B12 < 221 pmol/L in 34% and serum folate < 6.8 nmol/L in 6% of subjects. Function was related to nutritional status determined by the MNA tool but not related to vitamin concentrations. The assessment component of the MNA score predicted 10% of admission function (β = 0.36, p<0.0005), and subjects with poorer functional scores (< 95) had lower mean MNA scores (19 versus 21, p=0.028). Conclusion: Nutritional status was associated with low functional scores. Low concentrations of vitamins D and B12 were common but were not related to function. More research is needed to investigate the relationship between nutritional status and function.

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