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Keywords:

  • anthropometry;
  • nutritional status;
  • older;
  • residential care

Abstract

Background  Research investigating the nutritional status of older people in residential care homes is scant.

Objective  To determine the anthropometric measures and dietary intakes of older people in this setting as a basis for future intervention studies.

Methods  Dietary intake was assessed using 3-day-weighed food records, nutritional status was evaluated using anthropometric measurements (knee height to predict standing height, and body weight). Catering provision was assessed using a computer-based menu assessment tool (CORA).

Results  Mean body mass index (BMI) for the 34 participants was 22.2 kg m2 (range 14.5–34.4). Six participants (17.6%) had a BMI ≤18.5 kg m2 with a further seven identified as having a BMI >18.5 but <20 kg m2. Only two subjects with BMI <18.5 kg m2 were prescribed oral supplements. In both men and women, recorded mean energy intakes were below current estimated average requirements by 24% and 22% respectively.

Conclusion  Despite adequate food provision, under-nutrition was prevalent and, in the majority of cases, unidentified and untreated. A larger study is warranted to investigate whether improved nutritional intake is achievable through dietary modification. These data indicate that a sample size of around 60, with 90% power and at the 5% significance level, is required to detect a difference of 1674 kJ between groups of residents in an intervention study following a cluster randomized design.