Use of a nutrition-focused quality improvement program for community-living older adults at malnutrition risk is associated with better nutritional outcomes

Diego Andrés Chavarro-Carvajal, Ana María Ayala, Luis Carlos Venegas-Sanabria, Gabriel Gomez, Suela Sulo, Juan Diego Misas, Carlos Cano-Gutiérrez

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background & aims: Among older adults, malnutrition or its risk is common and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality plus increased need for healthcare utilization. We aimed to identify and treat malnutrition risk among older adults who received care at an outpatient clinic after a recent hospitalization and/or for management of a chronic disease. Methods: From the outpatient clinic of Hospital Universitario San Ignacio, Bogotá, Colombia, we recruited older adults (>60 years) with malnutrition or its risk according to the Mini Nutritional Assessment-Short Form (MNA-SF). Patients were excluded if they had dementia or were not expected to live 90 days or more. Intervention was a nutrition-focused quality improvement program (QIP) including: i) education of patients and caregivers about the health importance of complete and balanced macro- and micronutrient intake plus physical exercise; and ii) nutritional intervention with dietary counseling and provision of oral nutritional supplements (ONS) for daily intake. To assess the effect of our intervention, we collected nutritional outcome data pre- and post-participation of patients in the nutrition-focused QIP. For pre-post comparisons, we used MNA-SF scores and calf circumference (a proxy for leg muscle mass) measures along with nutrition-related anthropometric determinations of body weight and body mass index (BMI). The ONS treatment phase was 60 days, with follow-up measurements up to 30 days after ONS treatment ended (90 days after intervention start). Results: Of 677 enrolled patients, 618 completed the QIP, while 565 had complete anthropometric data. Patients had a mean age of 74.1 ± 8.7 years, an average of 2.6 comorbidities, included a high proportion of females (69.4%), with medium socioeconomic status (76%). After QIP intervention, 324 (52.4%) patients had improvement in nutritional outcomes; improvement was significant in all four measures (P-values < 0.001). Higher ONS adherence was associated with the highest improvement in nutritional status. Conclusions: For community-living older adults receiving outpatient care, comprehensive nutritional care offered via a nutrition-focused QIP was associated with significant improvements in indicators of nutritional status (MNA-SF scores and calf circumference) and maintenance or improvements in nutrition-related anthropometric measures (body weight and BMI). identifier: NCT04042987.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Nutrition ESPEN
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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