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Med Arh. 2011;65(2):92-5.

The effect of loneliness on malnutrition in elderly population.

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Family Medicine Simin Han, Health center, Mustafa Sehovic Tuzla, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina.



The clinical and epidemiological data show that proper nutrition plays an important role in maintaining health and combating the danger of developing some chronic diseases in the elderly population. Nutrition is an important factor in many physiological and pathological changes that accompany the aging process. More than 50% of elderly patients are suffering from malnutrition which is information that concerns. Due to various factors, older people are potentially vulnerable groups at risk of malnutrition. Loneliness, isolation from society and neglect of parents by children is a big problem to many people in old age.


To determine differences in nutritional status of elderly people living alone compared to those who live in family surroundings.


The study was conducted in the municipality of Tuzla in 2009-2010, in outpatient family medicine Simin Han. The survey covered a total of 200 elderly subjects (age >65 years). Subject group consisted of 45% of people living alone, and 55% control group consisted of elderly patients who live in traditional family surroundings. Questionnaires used in this study are General geriatric assessment questionnaire and Mini nutritional status.


The average age (+/- SD) was 75.4 +/- 6.2 years in subject group, while the same in the control group was 74.9 +/- 5.6 years. In subject group significantly more patients are on the verge of poverty. There are significant differences in the classification of financial status, according to the groups (p = 0.043). Members of subject groups have significantly lower BMI categories (p = 0.03) compared with the control group. In our study, people who live alone are at increased risk of malnutrition (p = 0030), have reduced the number of daily meals, significantly lower daily intake of protein, fruits and vegetables in the diet in relation to persons living in a family environment. Significantly more patients with loss of appetite live alone. According to the existence of self-reported food problems significantly more people are in subject group. There is a difference value score "Small assessment of nutrition" between the two groups (p = 0.001). About 22% of the total number of respondents said they have not so good health status compared to others.


Loneliness is a significant predictor of anorexia nervosa, the risk of malnutrition and malnutrition. Results indicate that it is necessary to work on improving the status and protection of elderly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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