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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the population of worldwide elderly people aged ≥60 years is projected to reach 1.5 billion by 2050. India’s elderly population is also growing rapidly and accounts for 8.1% of the total population in 2011. Undernutrition is common among older people over 60 years of age. Objectives: To determine the prevalence of malnutrition and to identify the contributing factors of malnutrition among geriatric population.
Methodology: A non-experimental descriptive survey conducted among 170 geriatric patients attending general OPD’s at a tertiary care Centre, Kerala using Mini Nutritional Assessment tool (MNA). classify the respondents as having ‘normal nutrition’ (score 23.5 and above), ‘at risk of malnutrition’ (17-23.5), ‘malnourished’.
Results: Nutritional assessment revealed that 34.2% were ‘malnourished’, 47.6% at ‘risk for malnutrition’ and 18.2% having normal nutritional status. Moderate to severe declined food intake over the three months (68.2%), taking only two meals daily (55. 3%) and less fluid consumption >5 cups (49.4%) were found to be the contributing factors. Age, marital status, economic dependency, type of family and education were found significantly associated with nutritional status in elderly. Malnutrition was higher with increase in age, in unmarried people, in dependent older adults and those living in extended families.
Conclusion: The findings of the study highlight the gravity of geriatric malnutrition in Kerala. Along with addressing the problem of malnourished. screening and training of primary care givers in identifying elderly at risk, and counseling on nutritional support need attention.