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266 Nutritional status of older adults on national financial assistance in an urban Asian country

Author(s): Koh HXF | Au Yong PS | Hoe KM, Kang ML | Koo YX | Liau ZQG | Long M | Koh G

Journal: International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health
ISSN 1840-4529

Volume: 3;
Start page: 266;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Malnutrition | nutritional assessment | geriatric assessment | geriatric nursing | nursing homes | food services

Background: Public Assistance (PA) is a form of social welfare for the socioeconomicallydisadvantaged. Financial need and lower socioeconomic status contributes to insufficient nutritionalintake. No previous studies have been done in this population.Objective: Assess the nutritional status of PA recipients, identify contributory factors for risk ofmalnutrition and evaluate their barriers to adequate nutrition.Design: The inclusion criteria for study subjects were: participants currently receiving PA and aged 55years or older. Individuals who were non-communicative due to mental or physical impairment wereexcluded from the study. Eventually, 399 community-dwelling PA recipients, from a list of 711 providedby Central Singapore District, were interviewed by trained pairs of interviewers using a codedquestionnaire including assessment tools like Mini-Nutritional Assessment (MNA), DETERMINE YourNutritional Health checklist, etc to quantitatively assess nutritional status, nutritional knowledge, comorbidityburden, depression risk, functional status, and awareness and utilisation of available foodassistance services. Further in-depth qualitative interviews were done with malnourished individuals toevaluate the barriers they faced.Results: 50.3% respondents were at risk of malnutrition as defined by a score of 17 or less on the MiniNutritional Assessment. Increased risk of malnutrition was independently associated with advanced age(OR: 1.38, 95% CI: 1.20-1.71), single marital status (OR: 1.47, 95% CI: 0.98-2.21), risk of depression(OR: 1.43, 95% CI: 1.17-1.74), impaired functional status (OR: 1.42, 95% CI: 1.17-1.71), having a BodyMass Index (BMI) less than 19 (OR: 2.21, 95% CI: 1.85-2.83), and poor nutrition knowledge (OR: 1.26,95% CI: 1.03-1.53) [All p values
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