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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 Sep 25. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gly225. [Epub ahead of print]

Predictors of incident malnutrition in older Irish adults from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) cohort- a MaNuEL study.

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School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
UCD Institute of Food and Health, University College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
Institute for Biomedicine of Aging, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany.
School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.
The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
Mercer's Institute for Successful Ageing, St James' Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.
Department of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
Department of Biological Sciences, and Health Research Institute, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Vrije University Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Older adults are at increased risk of malnutrition which is associated with poorer health, quality of life, and worse disease outcomes. This study identifies predictors of incident malnutrition using data from a sub-sample (n=1,841) of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Participants were excluded if they were <65 years, missing BMI data at baseline/follow-up, missing baseline weight loss (WL) data or malnourished at baseline (BMI <20kg/m2 or unplanned WL ≥4.5kg in the previous year). Logistic regression analysis was performed with incident malnutrition (BMI <20kg/m2 and/or calculated WL >10% over follow-up) as the dependent variable. Factors showing significant (p<0.05) univariate associations with incident malnutrition were entered into a multivariate model. The analysis was then repeated, stratified by sex. The 2-year incidence of malnutrition was 10.7%. Unmarried/separated/divorced status (vs.married but not widowed), hospitalisation in the previous year, difficulties walking 100m or climbing stairs independently predicted incident malnutrition at follow-up. When examined by sex, hospitalisation in the previous year, falls during follow-up and self-reported difficulties climbing stairs predicted malnutrition in males. Receiving social support and cognitive impairment predicted malnutrition in females.The development of malnutrition has a range of predictors. These can be assessed using simple questions to identify vulnerable persons.


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