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Keywords:

  • community;
  • nutrition;
  • old-old;
  • risk factors

Abstract  Screening tools for detecting declining nutrition in community-dwelling old-old are few and problematic. The purpose of this study was to identify the leading risk factors associated with noninvasive measures of poor nutritional status among elders aged 80 or older still living independently in the community. This cross-sectional descriptive study included 68 community-dwelling old-old (average age 85.7). Participants were recruited by parish nurses. In-home interviews were conducted. Relationships between five well-established measures of nutritional risk factors and two measures of nutritional status, body mass index (BMI) categories, and unintentional weight loss were examined. Depression and the food pyramid groups with adequate amounts eaten were predictive of unintentional weight loss in the previous 6 months (p = 0.013) but not of high or low BMI. In this sample, 25% were obese. Screening for depression and food intake may be useful in predicting nutritional decline among community-dwelling old-old and point to targeted interventions in a population who are large users of health care dollars.