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Nutrición Hospitalaria

versión On-line ISSN 1699-5198versión impresa ISSN 0212-1611


MORILLAS, J. et al. Detection of hyponutrition risk in non-institutionalised elderly. Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2006, vol.21, n.6, pp.650-656. ISSN 1699-5198.

Background and objective: an inadequate food intake in the elderly increases immunological system vulnerability, the risk for infections, and it also leads to muscle atrophy, high sugar and fat plasma levels, fatigue, apathy, greater risk for bone fractures, and lower response to medication. Physiological and pathological changes related to aging bring about changes in dietary habits and organ body use of nutrients. The main consequence is an increase in the prevalence of individuals with global or nutrient-specific hyponutrition. The aim of this work was to detect the percentage of non-instituti nalised malnourished elderly patients from Murcia with hyponutrition risk, in order to being able of preventively act on them. Material and methods: 360 elderly patients of both genders, non-institutionalised and residing in Murcia compose the population sample. Hyponutrition risk detection is based on performance of a test to each patient with nine questions relating to nutritional risk, which is a validated nutritional screening method, with a 95% positive predictive value and 81% negative predictive value. Besides, other factors that may affect hyponutrition risk were assessed in each patient (BMI, gender, age, persons living with him/her, marital status, educational level, and other conditions). Statistical analysis is done with the SPSS package, v. 12.0, using the Student's t test for comparison of independent variables with a normal distribution and Pearson's correlation to analyse the correlation level between variables. Results: The population sample is composed by elder people aged 73.5 ± 0.5 years (mean ± SEM), with a BMI of 27.5 ± 0.3 (Kg/m2), of which 41% are males and 59% females. Forty-six percent have incomplete primary education, and only 11% have university education. Seventy-five percent of these elder people live with somebody (with their spouse or other relatives), and 22% live alone. Sixty-percent are married, and 31% are widow. About age-related pathologies, we observe higher prevalence of diabetes (21%) and cardiovascular diseases, (21%), high cholesterol levels (32%), and high prevalence of arterial hypertension (42%). Seven percent have involuntarily lost weight for the last 3 months, and 11% find themselves thinner, 14% have difficulty eating. Seventeen percent of the studied elder people have a likely risk for malnutrition, with 3% of malnourished patients. When analysing gender differences we observe a greater percentage of women with arterial hypertension, as compared to men (p < 0.05) whereas men diagnosed with COPD outnumber women with COPD (p < 0.05). Significant differences (p < 0.05) are seen in malnutrition risk by gender, being higher in females as compared to men.BMI and malnutrition risk are negatively correlated (p < 0.01). A direct correlation is seen between the patient's age and his/her malnutrition risk (p < 0.05). Conclusions: In Murcia 17% of analysed elderly people have a likely risk for malnutrition and 2% are malnourished. This malnutrition refers to deficient nutrition, so for these results suggest the need to perform: 1º) further studies to determine qualitatively and quantitatively nutritional deficits. 2º) A nutritional intervention in this population to prevent deficient states associated to the development of several pathologies.

Palabras clave : Elderly; Malnutrition; hyponutrition; Nutritional intervention.

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