Poor appetite and dietary intake in community-dwelling older adults
S. van der Meij , H. A.H. Wijnhoven , J. S. Lee, D. K. Houston, T. Hue, T. B. Harris, S. B. Kritchevsky , B. Newman , M. Visser
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, accepted for publication on 31-5-2017
Poor appetite is a problem in many older adults and is associated with unintentional weight loss and lower quality of life. Insight in food preferences of these older adults could be used to improve dietary intake and develop meals, drinks and snacks that are specifically adapted to these preferences. It can also be used to identify the risk of nutrient deficiencies.
In this study we investigated differences in food intake by appetite level among 2.597 older adults (70-79 years) who are living in the United States and who participated in the second year of the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. The dietary intake of the older adults was measured with a “food frequency questionnaire” that consisted of 108 items on frequency and amount of different foods.
In total, 22% of the older adults reported that they had a poor appetite, 38% reported a good appetite and 40% a very good appetite. The older adults with a poor appetite were more often female, black, lower educated, and reported a poorer general health status, more biting/chewing problems, unintentional weight loss, and a lower Healthy Eating Index score.
The older adults with a poor appetite consumed less protein and dietary fiber, less solid foods, smaller portion sizes, less wholegrains, and less fruits and vegetables than older adults with a very good appetite. They consumed more dairy foods, fats, oils, sweets and soda’s.
This study shows that older adults with a poor appetite report a different dietary intake pattern compared to those with very good appetite. The study results can be used for nutrition interventions to enhance food intake, diet variety and diet quality in older adults with a poor appetite.
Read the whole scientific paper here.