• The Association of Nutritional Risk with Physical and Mental Health Problems Among Elderly in a Semi-Urban Area of Mukim Kajang, Selangor

    September 2004, Volume 10 No. 2

    ARTICLE 3

    The Association of Nutritional Risk with Physical and Mental Health Problems Among Elderly in a Semi-Urban Area of Mukim Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia

    Sherina MS1, Rozali A2, Shiran MS3 & Sam AA1
    1 Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia
    2 Ministry of Defence, Malaysia
    3 Department of Clinical Lab Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia

    ABSTRACT
    Imbalances and deficiencies of nutrients are particularly prevalent among the elderly, resulting in increased risk of illness and impaired outcome, as well as reduced quality of life. A cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the nutritional risk and to determine its association with physical and mental health problems among the elderly in a semiurban community in the District of Hulu Langat, Selangor. Elderly people aged 60 years and above were included in the study, conducted from 11th March to 10th May 2004. Data were collected using a questionnaire-guided interview method. The Nutrition Screening Initiative Checklist (NSI-13) was used to assess the level (low, moderate, high) of nutritional risk of the subjects. The questionnaire also included the Barthel Index, Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-30) and Elderly Cognitive Assessment Questionnaire (ECAQ) to identify functional status, depressive symptoms and cognitive impairment respectively, among the respondents. Out of 316 elderly residents, 300 agreed to participate in the study (response rate 94.9%). Respondents aged from 60 to 93 years old and the mean age was 67.08�6.6. Prevalence of moderate and high nutritional risks were 25.3% and 36.3% respectively. Nutritional risks were found to be significantly associated with age (p=0.015), marital status (p=0.00), chronic illness (p=0.000), functional disability (p=0.000) and depressive symptoms (p=0.010). In conclusion, the health status of the elderly strongly depends on their nutritional risk. Age, marital status, chronic illness, functional disability and depressive symptoms are factors to be emphasised when assessing the nutritional risk of the elderly.

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