A nutritionally focused program for community-living older adults resulted in improved health and well-being

Gabriel Gomez, Felipe Botero-Rodríguez, Juan Diego Misas, Elkin Garcia-Cifuentes, Suela Sulo, Cory Brunton, Luis Carlos Venegas-Sanabria, Daniela Alejandra Gracia, Carlos Alberto Cano Gutierrez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objectives: Among older adults, malnutrition is common and is associated with increased risk for impaired health and functionality, conditions further associated with poorer quality of life. In this study of community-living older adults, our objective was to quantify outcome changes following identification and treatment of malnutrition or its risk. Design: Our intervention was a nutritional quality improvement program (QIP). The nutritional QIP included: (i) education of participants about the importance of complete and balanced macro- and micronutrient intake plus physical exercise, (ii) nutritional intervention with dietary counseling; and (iii) provision of oral nutritional supplements (ONS) for daily intake over 60 days. Follow-up measurements took place 30 days after ONS treatment ended, i.e., 90 days after start of intervention. Setting and participants: We recruited 618 transitional-care, chronically ill, older adults (>60 years) with malnutrition/risk (per Mini Nutrition Assessment-Short Form, MNA-SF) from the outpatient clinic of Hospital Universitario San Ignacio, in Bogotá, Colombia. Methods: For pre-post comparisons, we examined cognition (Mini-Mental State Exam, MMSE), physical abilities (Barthel Activities of Daily Living, ADL; Short Physical Performance Battery, SPPB), affective disorder status (Global Depression Scale, GDS), and quality of life (QoL; EuroQoL-5D-3L, EQ-5D-3L; EuroQoL-Visual Analog Scale, EQ-VAS). Results: Participants were mean age 74.1 ± 8.7 y, female majority (69.4%), and had an average of 2.6 comorbidities with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases predominant (28.5%). QIP-based nutritional intervention led to significant improvements in cognitive (MMSE) and physical functions (ADL and SPPB), affective disorder status (GDS), and health-related quality of life (EQ-VAS); all differences (P < 0.001). Self-reported QoL (EQ-5D-3L) also improved. Conclusions and implications: Over 90 days, the nutritional QIP led to improvements in all measured outcomes, thus highlighting the importance of addressing malnutrition or its risk among community-living older adults. From a patient's perspective, maintaining mental and physical function are important and further linked with quality of life. Brief summary: For older, community-living adults, nutrition care can improve health and well-being outcomes. Care includes screening for malnutrition risk, dietary and exercise counseling, and daily nutritional supplements when needed. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04042987.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1549-1556
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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