Factors associated with nutritional risk in 75-year-old community living people

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Abstract

Aim.

To identify risk factors for being at nutritional risk, by means of a nutritional screening, in a population based sample of 75-year-old people living in three county councils in Sweden.

Background.

Undernutrition in older people is known to contribute to poor health. The instrument ‘Nutritional Form For the Elderly’ (NUFFE) helps to identify those at nutritional risk.

Method.

The screening instrument ‘Nutritional Form For the Elderly’, background variables and health related questions were mail distributed. A total of 1461 persons (75 years old) were included in the study. Descriptive statistical methods were used in the analyses.

Results.

One percent of the participants had high risk, 21.3% medium and 77.7% low risk for undernutrition. Medium or high risk was predicted by: living alone, receiving help and impaired perceived health. Low Body Mass Index was associated with low risk for undernutrition.

Conclusion.

By using a simple nutritional screening instrument, significant risk factors were highlighted.

Relevance to practice.

This instrument can identify older people at nutritional risk and is easy to use. Older people living alone have an increased risk of undernutrition. Body Mass Index (BMI) should be used with caution as one and only indicator of nutritional risk in older people.

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