Risk of malnutrition among Brazilian institutionalized elderly: a study with the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) questionnaire

R S Pereira Machado, M A Santa Cruz Coelho
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 2011, 15 (7): 532-5

BACKGROUND: Brazilian population has passed for a process of demographic transition throughout latest years, characterized for the increase of the elderly population. Malnutrition is a serious problem to frail elderly.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was o evaluate the risk of malnutrition among institutionalized elderly resident in municipal shelters in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, using the tool Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA).

DESIGN: 344 institutionalized elderly aged over 60 years old were tested in a cross-sectional study using MNA. This tool classifies the nutricional status of the elderly in three groups: malnutrition (score < 17), risk of malnutrition (score 17 - 23,5) and well-nourished (score > = 24). Anthropometric measurements such as calf circumference (CC), mid-arm circumference (MAC) and Body mass index (BMI) were also evaluated. The variables were evaluated using the chi-square or ANOVA test. To correlate it was used Pearson's Correlation Coefficient (r).

RESULTS: Mean age were 75.4 (+- 9.4) years old. Most of the elderly were female gender (59.6%). According to MNA 8.3% were with malnutrition, 55.6% at risk of malnutrition and 36.1% well-nourished. BMI classified 10.0% of the elderly as underweight. CC classified 10.0 % of them as inadequate in muscular mass. MNA was well correlated to BMI (r=0.412 p=0.000), age (r=-0.124 p=0.031), CC (r=0.399 p = 0.000) and MAC (r=0.391 p=0.000).

CONCLUSION: Risk of malnutrition was high among the institutionalized elderly from public shelters in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil. MNA is a useful diagnostic tool for the identification on the frail elderly at risk of malnutrition.

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