Usefulness of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) in predicting the nutritional status of people with mental disorders in Taiwan

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Objective.The study was to evaluate the ability of the Mini Nutritional Assessment in predicting malnutrition in people with three subtypes of mental disorder (schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder) in Taiwan.Design.The study involved a convenience sample of 120 residents of psychiatric wards managed by a hospital in central Taiwan (52 with schizophrenia, 36 with major depression and 32 with bipolar disorder) classified according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria.Methods.A structured questionnaire elicited subjects' personal data, disease history and answers to questions in the Mini Nutritional Assessment. Serum and anthropometrical parameters were measured. Nutritional status was evaluated with a content-equivalent version of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (Taiwan version-1, T1).Results.The Mini Nutritional Assessment-Taiwan version-1 was effective in assessing the nutritional status of people of all three subtypes of disorder. Nutritional statuses predicted with the Mini Nutritional Assessment-Taiwan version-1 agreed well with other nutritional indicators such as BMI, waist circumference and appetite status. According to the Mini Nutritional Assessment-Taiwan version-1, people with major depression were more likely to be at risk of undernutrition, whereas people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were more likely to be at risk of overnutrition.Conclusion.The Mini Nutritional Assessment-Taiwan version-1 can effectively grade both undernutrition and overnutrition of people with schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.Relevance to clinical practice.The Mini Nutritional Assessment enables nurses to monitor emerging nutritional problems in people with psychiatric disorder without relying on subjective judgement. With proper intervention, it can help reduce nutrition-related chronic conditions in these individuals and save on healthcare cost.

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