Assessing the prevalence of malnutrition with the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) in a nationally representative sample of elderly Taiwanese

A C Tsai, C-S Ho, M-C Chang
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 2008, 12 (4): 239-43

OBJECTIVE: The study was to determine whether the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) could be used as a tool to effectively identify malnourished elderly in a non-Caucasian population.

DESIGN: The study was a part of a population-based multistage random sample survey.

SETTING: In-home face-to-face interviews.

PARTICIPANTS: Randomly selected 1583 men and 1307 women, 65 years or older, in Taiwan.

MEASUREMENTS: Assessing nutritional risk status of participants with the Mini Nutritional Assessment.

RESULTS: The prevalence of malnutrition is 1.7% in elderly men and 2.4% in elderly women, 65 years or older. The proportion at risk of malnutrition is 13.1%.

CONCLUSION: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to apply the MNA to estimate the prevalence of malnutrition in the elderly in a nationally representative sample. Results suggest that the MNA can identify malnourished elderly in a non-Caucasian population. However, it appears that the functionality of the instrument can be improved by adapting population-specific anthropometric cutoff standards.

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