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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 331–336 | Cite as

Predictors of Nutritional Risk in Community-dwelling Seniors

  • Karen C. RobertsEmail author
  • Christina Wolfson
  • Hélène Payette
Article

Abstract

Objectives

At any age, good nutrition is important for maintaining good health. Seniors are at risk of declining nutritional status due to the physiological, psychological, economic and social changes that accompany aging. We investigated medical, psychological, social and environmental characteristics as both correlates and predictors of elevated nutritional risk in community-dwelling seniors.

Methods

Data came from a prospective study of 839 seniors aged 75 and over, in Montreal. Face-to-face interviews were conducted at baseline and at 12 months. The validated Elderly Nutrition Screening (ENS©) tool was administered and subjects were assigned a level of “nutritional risk” based on the risk for energy and nutritional intake deficiencies. Using risk factors identified in the literature, analyses were performed to characterize those factors associated with both the level of risk at baseline and a change in risk over 12 months.

Results

At baseline, more than half (60%) of the participants were at elevated nutritional risk. Cross-sectional analyses supported the findings of previous research examining correlates of elevated nutritional risk. Longitudinal results showed that among those at low nutritional risk, only poor self-rated health was found to be a statistically significant predictor of elevated risk at 12 months (OR=3.30, p<0.05).

Conclusion

Proper nutrition can promote healthy aging by preventing disease and disability, improving health outcomes and maintaining autonomy, resulting in decreased health care utilization and costs. The findings of this research highlight the need for longitudinal studies in order to better understand and target nutritional risk in community-dwelling seniors.

Résumé

Objectifs

À tout âge, une bonne nutrition est essentielle pour maintenir la santé. Le risque de détérioration de l’état nutritionnel augmente considérablement avec l’avance en âge dû aux changements physiologiques, psychologiques, économiques et sociaux qui accompagnent le vieillissement. Nous avons examiné la relation entre le risque nutritionnel et les caractéristiques physiologiques, psychologiques, sociales et environnementales de personnes âgées vivant dans la communauté.

Méthodologie

Les données ont été recueillies dans le cadre d’une étude prospective de 839 Montréalais âgés de ≥75 ans par entrevues face-à-face, à l’entrée dans l’étude et 12 mois plus tard. Le DNA© (Dépistage Nutritionnel des Aînés) a été utilisé pour déterminer le niveau de risque nutritionnel selon le risque de carences d’apports alimentaires. Utilisant les facteurs de risque déjà reconnus, des analyses bi- et multivariées ont été utilisées pour identifier les facteurs associés au risque nutritionnel à l’entrée dans l’étude et à l’incidence de ce risque 12 mois plus tard.

Résultats

À l’entrée dans l’étude, plus de la moitié (60 %) des participants étaient à risque nutritionnel élevé. Les résultats de nos analyses transversales appuient ceux d’autres études. Ceux des analyses longitudinales montrent que, parmi les sujets à faible risque nutritionnel, une mauvaise santé perçue prédit une augmentation de ce risque après 12 mois (RC=3,30, p<0,05).

Conclusion

Une bonne nutrition peut aider à vieillir en santé en prévenant la maladie et l’incapacité. L’amélioration de la santé et le maintien de l’autonomie fonctionnelle résulteront en une réduction de l’utilisation et des coûts des soins de santé. Nos résultats soulignent l’importance des études longitudinales pour améliorer notre compréhension du risque nutritionnel chez les personnes âgées afin de mieux adapter nos interventions.

MeSH terms

Aging elderly nutrition free-living longitudinal 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen C. Roberts
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christina Wolfson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hélène Payette
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, Department of MedicineMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Division of Clinical Epidemiology (DICE)McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)MontrealCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of Sherbrooke, Research Centre on Aging, Health and Social Services Centre-University Institute of Geriatrics of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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