Malnutrition among the elderly has become a serious problem as their population increases in Japan. To approach the risk of malnutrition in the healthy, community-dwelling elderly is important for early prevention of malnutrition. The nutritional status and mutable associated factors with poor nutritional status specific to the healthy elderly were examined comprehensively.Methods
One hundred and thirty healthy elderly people from a senior college in Tokyo, Japan were eligible for this study. Nutritional status was evaluated by Mini-Nutritional Assessment (MNA). The demographic status and potential correlates with poor nutritional status, including the physical factors (mobility, cognitive impairment and oral status) and the psychosocial factors (depression, self-efficacy, attitudes toward health, instrumental activities of daily living, public health service knowledge, and difficulty and dissatisfaction with meal preparation) were investigated. The multiple linear regression analysis using a stepwise procedure adjusted for demographic status was performed to detect independent associated factors.Results
There were 16 participants (12.6%) at risk of malnutrition. The independent associated factors with lower MNA scores were depression (β = −0.27, P = 0.005), lower self-efficacy (β = 0.25, P = 0.009), lower attitudes toward health scores (β = 0.21, P = 0.02) and difficulty with meal preparation (β = −0.18, P = 0.03).Conclusion
The prevalence of the healthy elderly at the initial risk of malnutrition was relatively high and should not be overlooked. The comprehensive geriatric screening and intervention including mental health, health management and life-situation will be important for the healthy, community-dwelling elderly.