Food consumption and risk of malnutrition in community-dwelling very old Spanish adults (≥ 80 years)

Susana Jiménez-Redondo, Beatriz Beltrán de Miguel, Javier Gómez-Pavón, Carmen Cuadrado Vives


Introduction: There are few studies assessing overall diet and food patterns of the oldest population.

Objectives: To examine food groups consumption (grams and servings) and their compliance with the dietary guidelines in community-dwelling very old Spanish adults. The relationship with the risk of malnutrition was also studied.

Methods: Within the cross-sectional health study of elderly people of Villanueva de la Cañada (Madrid, Spain), in 98 non-institutionalized elders aged ≥ 80 years (66% women) food consumption was calculated from a 24-hour dietary recall and nutritional risk was assessed by Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA). Statistical significance was evaluated at 95% confidence level (p < 0.05).

Results: Men consumed significantly higher amounts of snacks/pickles and alcoholic beverages. The consumption of cereals/grain products (2 servings/day), vegetables (1.5 servings/day) and meat, fish, eggs (1.4 servings/day), was below desirable levels. As nutritional status got worse, fruit consumption was significantly smaller (p = 0.039). Relatively weak but highly significant correlations were found between MNA and oils/fats, fruits and alcoholic beverages. After adjustment for energy intake, oils and fats and fruits associations disappeared whereas a negative association between milk/dairy products and MNA was found.

Conclusions: Dietary patterns of the elderly population of Villanueva are departing from the traditional Mediterranean diet and though adequate consumption of fruits, milk/dairy products, oils/fats and sugar/confectionery has been achieved, cereals/grain products, vegetables and the meat, fish, eggs group consumption was below the desirable levels. Deterioration of the nutritional status coincided with a reduction in the consumption of all food groups except for ready meals and milk/dairy products whose consumption increased. Further research on the influence of fruit, milk/dairy products, wine and olive oil consumption on nutritional status is required.

Palabras clave

Community-dwelling very old people. Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA). Dietary patterns. Servings. Dietary guidelines.

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