Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

King, Sondra L.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Human and Family Resources


Older people--Nutrition; Older people--Hospital care


The purpose of this study was to examine two methods of identification of protein-calorie malnutrition in the hospitalized elderly, and to determine which method would be more appropriate for this particular age group. One method, currently used in most hospitals, uses percentage of standard to identify those at risk for malnutrition, while the other method uses age-grouped (65 to 90 years of age) percentile ranks. The specific group of patients for this study were from the geriatric unit of a midsize (442-bed) hospital in the South. Common anthropometric measurements, such as triceps skinfold, midarm circumference, midarm muscle circumference, midarm muscle area, and weight were used as indicators of nutritional status. A greater number of patients (p<.001) were identified as malnourished (moderately and severely depleted) using the percentile rank method. Forty more patients were considered in need of aggressive nutritional therapy with age-grouped data as the criteria. The degree of malnutrition is important in assessment of the hospitalized patient. In this study, the percentile rank method identified 32 (28%) more patients as moderately depleted and 8 (7%) as severely depleted. A correlation was found between age and midarm circumference (p<.02), but no correlation was found between age and triceps skinfold in these patients. Weight was correlated with triceps skinfold (p<.01), midarm circumference (p<.001), and age (p<.02). Correct identification of the malnourished elderly- patient has clinical significance because the type and amount of nutritional therapy affects recovery time and rehabilitation. The method used for assessment should reflect age-related changes due to the physiological process of aging. Since the percentile rank method is specific for age groups (65-90 years) it provides a more accurate picture of the elderly person's nutritional status, than does the more general percent of standard method currently in use. This study showed that a greater percentage of patients were identified as malnourished and in need of aggressive nutritional therapy using age-related percentile ranks as a method of assessment.


Bibliography: pages [38]-44.


50 pages




Northern Illinois University

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