Malnutrition Reduces Quality of Life and Performance in Hospitalized Elderly


Objectives: Severe protein energy malnutrition results in muscle wasting and loss of subcutaneous tissue and has serious implications for health, recovery from illness or surgery, and hospital costs; however this condition is often underestimated and considered as one of the aspects of aging. We measure the incidence of malnutrition and its consequences on general health, physical and mental performance in a cohort of elderly patients. Study Design: This is a cross-sectional study conducted in a geriatric inpatient unit. Three hundred patients admitted to the clinic who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were enrolled. Main Outcome Measures: Nutritional status was evaluated by Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) questionnaire, macro and micronutrients intake, anthropometric measures and biochemical parameters. Physical and mental performances were recorded by questionnaires. Muscular strength was measured by a hand dynamometer and clinical outcomes were recorded. Results: Patients with poor nutritional status have lower physical and mental performance as respect to well nourished patients. Undernourished patients have longer hospitalization and worst outcomes. We observe a high prevalence of severe hypovitaminosis D and the intake of various micronutrients was severely unbalanced. The incidence of malnutrition was 25% (75 patients); 39% (119 patients) were at risk of malnutrition. MNA was inversely related with the length of hospital stay (R = -0.25, p = 0.012) and with Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) (R = -0.56, p = 0.000), whereas directly related with cognitive performance measured through Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) (R = 0.5, p = 0.000) and hand grip strength (R = 0.35, p = 0.000). Conclusions: Malnutrition significantly reduced quality of life, physical and mental performance and worsened patients’ prognosis.

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D’Amelio, P. , Rosso, B. , Fornelli, G. , Eandi, C. , Maniero, M. , Cobianchi, D. , Dimonte, V. , Rebellato, M. and Isaia, G. (2014) Malnutrition Reduces Quality of Life and Performance in Hospitalized Elderly. Open Journal of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases, 4, 147-157. doi: 10.4236/ojemd.2014.46015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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