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J Nutr Health Aging. 2011 May;15(5):388-91.

Nutritional status and associations with falls, balance, mobility and functionality during hospital admission.

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Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, Australia.



To explore associations between nutritional status, falls and selected falls risk factors amongst older hospitalized people. Lengths of stay amongst fallers and the malnourished were assessed.


An observational longitudinal cohort study.


Geriatric Assessment and Rehabilitation Unit (GARU) of a tertiary teaching hospital.


Admissions to the GARU during a six-month period were included.


Associations between nutritional status and falls during hospitalization, reported preadmission history of falls, functional status, balance and mobility during GARU admission were analysed. Associations between nutritional status or experiencing a hospital fall and length of stay were also examined.


Malnutrition prevalence was 39% (75/194, 95% CI 32-46%) with odds of falling during admission being 1.49 (95%CI: 0.81, 2.75), p< 0.20). Patients assessed as malnourished were older (p<0.001) and more likely to have a poorer score on both the admission (p<0.05) and discharge (p<0.009) timed "Up and Go" test. Malnutrition was associated with reduced mobility (p<0.05). Those who fell during admission had statistically greater lengths of stay compared with non-fallers [median (range): 57.0 (7-127) vs 35.0 (5-227) days; p<0.002].


Evidence of reduced mobility was evident during GARU admission amongst older people assessed as malnourished. Considering the results, a larger study concerning nutritional status, functionality and falls in the hospitalized population is warranted. The influence of nutritional status upon a person's physical functioning should be considered more broadly in falls research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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