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Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Feb;79(2):295-302.

Edentulism and nutritional status in a biracial sample of well-functioning, community-dwelling elderly: the health, aging, and body composition study.

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Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



Edentulism may affect dietary intake in older adults, but the relation between edentulism and nutritional status is not completely understood.


The present study examined whether edentulism is associated with nutritional status and whether there is an interaction between race and edentulism on nutritional status among well-functioning, community-dwelling elderly.


The study cohort included 3075 elderly aged 70-79 y (52% women, 42% black) in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study. Dietary intake, anthropometric variables, weight change, and serum albumin and lipid concentrations were compared between edentate and dentate participants by the use of multiple linear and logistic regressions.


Edentulism was not associated with total energy or food intake but was associated with the food groups consumed, particularly fat, micronutrients, and hard-to-chew foods. Edentulism was more strongly linked to dietary intake in whites than in blacks. Unlike black edentate elderly, white edentate elderly consumed significantly lower energy-adjusted amounts of vitamin A and beta-carotene, higher amounts of energy-adjusted total and saturated fat and cholesterol, and higher percentages of energy from fat than did white dentate elderly. Anthropometry and biochemical indexes were not significantly different by edentulism status in both races. Edentulism was associated with weight gains of >5% in 1 y in both races.


Edentulism was associated with differences in the nutritional status of well-functioning, community-dwelling elderly, more so in whites than blacks. Edentate elders may benefit from dental, medical, and nutrition interventions targeted to addressing these findings.

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