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It is generally thought that causes of undernutrition are multifactorial, but
there are limited quantitative studies performed. We therefore examined a
wide range of potential factors associated with undernutrition in
community-dwelling older adults.
Community-dwelling older adults (≥65 years) receiving home care in the
Data on potential factors associated with (risk of) undernutrition were
collected among 300 older adults. Nutritional status was assessed by the
SNAQ65+ instrument. Undernutrition was defined as
mid-upper arm circumference <25 cm or unintentional weight loss of
≥4 kg in 6 months. Being at risk of undernutrition was defined as
having poor appetite and inability to walk up and down stairs of fifteen
steps, without resting.
Of all participants, ninety-two (31·7 %) were undernourished
and twenty-four (8·0 %) were at risk of undernutrition. Based
on multivariate logistic regression analyses, the statistically significant
factors associated with (risk of) undernutrition
(P<0·05) were: unable to go outside
(OR=5·39), intestinal problems (OR=2·88),
smoking (OR=2·56), osteoporosis (OR=2·46),
eating fewer than three snacks daily (OR=2·61), dependency in
activities of daily living (OR=1·21), physical inactivity
(OR=2·01), nausea (OR=2·50) and cancer
(OR=2·84); a borderline significant factor was depression
The study suggests that (risk of) undernutrition is a multifactorial problem
and that associated factors can be found in several domains. These findings
may support the development of intervention trials for the prevention and
treatment of undernutrition in community-dwelling older adults.
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