The Coexistence of Dual Form of Malnutrition among Portuguese Institutionalized Elderly People

In the present study we evaluated the nutritional status of 214 institutionalized elderly residents of both genders, aged 65 years and older of 11 care homes located in the district of Viseu (center of Portugal). The evaluation was based on anthropometric measurements and the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) score.

The mean age of the subjects was 82.3 ± 6.1 years-old. Most of the elderly residents were female (72.0%). The majority had 4 years of formal education (51.9%) and was widowed (74.3%) or married (14.0%).

Men presented a mean age of 81.2±8.5 years-old, weight 69.3±14.5 kg and BMI 25.33±6.5 kg/m2. In women, the mean age was 84.5±8.2 years-old, weight 61.2±14.7 kg and BMI 27.43±5.6 kg/m2.

The evaluation of the nutritional status using the MNA score showed that 24.0% of the residents show a risk of undernutrition and 76.0% of them were well nourished.

There was a high prevalence of obese (24.8%) and overweight residents (33.2%) according to the BMI. 7.5% were considered underweight.

We also found that according to their waist circumference measurements 88.3% of the residents were at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 64.0% of them presented very high risk for CVD (WC≥88 cm for women and WC ≥102 cm for men).

The present study revealed the coexistence of a dual form of malnutrition (undernourished and overweight) among the institutionalized Portuguese concomitantly with an excess of abdominal adiposity. The high prevalence of residents at high risk for CVD should not be overlooked.

Given the vulnerability of the group of institutionalized elderly, our study highlights the importance of the classification of nutritional status based on both instruments: the BMI and the MNA.

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