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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Apr;60(4):691-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03888.x. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

Short-term oral nutritional intervention with protein and vitamin D decreases falls in malnourished older adults.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, VU University Medical, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



To evaluate the effects of a short-term nutritional intervention with protein and vitamin D on falls in malnourished older adults.


Randomized controlled trial.


From hospital admission until 3 months after discharge.


Malnourished older adults (≥ 60) newly admitted to an acute hospital (n = 210).


Participants were randomized to receive nutritional intervention (energy- and protein-enriched diet, oral nutritional supplements, calcium-vitamin D supplement, telephone counseling by a dietitian) for 3 months after discharge or usual care.


Number of participants who fell, fall incidents, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and dietary intake. Measurements were performed on admission to hospital and 3 months after discharge.


Three months after discharge, 10 participants (10%) in the intervention group had fallen at least once, compared with 24 (23%) in the control group (hazard ratio = 0.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.19-0.86). There were 57 fall incidents (16 in the intervention group; 41 in the control group). A significantly higher intake of energy (280 kcal, 95% CI = 37-524 kcal) and protein (11 g, 95% CI = 1-25 g) and significantly higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (10.9 nmol/L, 95% CI = 2.9-18.9 nmol/L) were found in participants in the intervention group than in controls.


A short-term nutritional intervention consisting of oral nutritional supplements and calcium and vitamin D supplementation and supported by dietetic counseling in malnourished older adults decreases the number of patients who fall and fall incidents.

© 2012, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2012, The American Geriatrics Society.

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