Population-specific anthropometric cut-points improve the functionality of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) in elderly Taiwanese

Alan Chung-Hong Tsai, Ching-Sung Ho, Ming-Cheng Chang
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007, 16 (4): 656-62
The objective of this study was to determine the population-specific cut-points of body mass index (BMI), mid-arm circumference (MAC) and calf circumference (CC) for identifying subnormal nutritional status in elderly Taiwanese, and to evaluate the possibility of improving the functionality of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) by adopting these cut-points. This study analyzed data from 1583 men and 1307 women, 65 years or older, of a national survey. The survey involved in-home, face-to-face, interviews and anthropometric measurements. Results showed that based on the cumulative percentile curves, the fifth percentile values were: BMI, 17 kg/m2 for both men and women; MAC, 22.5 cm for men and 21 cm for women; and CC, 28 cm for men and 25 cm for women. Substitution of these population-specific cut-points for respective values in the MNA screen resulted in lowered proportions of elderly classified malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. The prevalence of malnutrition was reduced from 1.7% to 1.4% in men and from 2.4% to 1.5% in women. The proportions classified at risk of malnutrition were reduced from 10.1% to 8.9% for men and 16.8% to 12.8% for women. In conclusion, results suggest that the MNA is a valuable tool for geriatric nutritional risk assessment. However, in populations where significant differences exist in anthropometric measurements from the Caucasian populations, population-specific cut-points should be used.

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