Researchers Develop Dietary Screening Tool To Identify Elderly Patients At Risk For Malnutrition

Because of a lack of rapid methods for screening overall dietary intakes in older adults, a group of researchers set out to develop and evaluate a scoring system for a diet screening tool to identify nutritional risk in community-dwelling (nursing homes, assisted living facilities) older adults.

This cross-sectional study in 204 older adults who reside in rural areas examined nutrition status by using an in-person interview, biochemical measures, and four 24-h recalls that included the use of dietary supplements.

The dietary screening tool was able to characterize 3 levels of nutritional risk: at risk, possible risk, and not at risk. Individuals classified as at nutritional risk had significantly lower indicators of diet quality (Healthy Eating Index and Mean Adequacy Ratio) and intakes of protein, most micronutrients, dietary fiber, fruit, and vegetables. The at-risk group had higher intakes of fats and oils and refined grains. The at-risk group also had the lowest serum vitamin B-12, folate, ß-cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin concentrations. The not-at-nutritional-risk group had significantly higher lycopene and ß-carotene and lower homocysteine and methylmalonic acid concentrations.

The researchers concluded that the dietary screening tool is a simple and practical tool that can help to detect nutritional risk in older adults. For more, see the study.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia. 


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