The prevalence and health burden of malnutrition in Belgian older people in the community or residing in nursing homes: results of the NutriAction II study.


Department of Geriatrics (ZNA), University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium. [Email]


BACKGROUND : In 2008, the NutriAction study showed that (risk of) malnutrition was highly prevalent (57%) among Belgian older people living in the community or in a nursing home. In 2013, this study was repeated to re-evaluate the occurrence of malnutrition, as well as mobility problems and dependence in activities of daily living (ADL).
METHODS : Health care professionals (HCPs) associated with homecare organizations and nursing homes across Belgium were invited to screen their patients and complete an online questionnaire. Nutritional status, presence of pre-specified comorbidities, mobility, and ADL dependency were assessed.
RESULTS : In total, 3299 older patients were analysed: 2480 (86.3 ± 6.3 years) nursing home (NH) residents and 819 (82.7 ± 6.1 years) community dwelling (CD). Overall, 12% was malnourished (MNA-SF score < 8) and 44% was at risk of malnutrition (MNA-SF 8-11). The highest prevalence of (risk of) malnutrition was observed in NHs (63%) and in patients with dementia (CD: 68%; NH: 82%) or depression (CD: 68%; NH: 79%). Of all malnourished individuals, 49% was recognized as malnourished by HCPs and 13% of the malnourished recognized themselves as such. Mobility (stair climbing and walking) and ADL dependency (Belgian KATZ score) were impaired in older people with (risk of) malnutrition in comparison with individuals with normal nutritional status (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS : Despite public awareness initiatives, the prevalence of malnutrition remained stable among Belgian older people seen by HCPs in the period 2008-2013. Moreover, malnutrition is not well recognized.
CONCLUSIONS : Under-recognition of malnutrition is problematic, because associated loss of mobility and independence may accelerate the transformation of frailty into disability in older people.


ADL,Community,MNA-SF,Malnutrition,Mobility,Nursing home,

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