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Background: The health of the elderly is an important issue defining the health status of a population. Nutritional problems are one of the most common ailments faced in aging, and malnutrition, secondary to inadequate food consumption. Failure to diagnose malnutrition can raise the risk of illnesses and death.
Objective: Assess the elderly’s nutritional status by Mini Nutritional Assessment(MNA).
Method: Cross-sectional study was carried out among a convenient sample of elderly people aged 60 years and over who attended geriatric clinics of Baghdad teaching hospital in Medical City, and Al-Yarmouk teaching hospital besides four age-friendly Primary Health Care Centers in Baghdad from 15th of March until end of July 2018. The data was collected via direct interview using structured questionnaire in addition to Mini Nutritional Assessment tool (MNA) which used for the assessment of nutritional status.
Result: The total number of elder persons enrolled in the study was250. According to the MNA, 24% of study participants were classifie as malnourished and 48.8% were at risk of malnutrition. Age factor was negatively influenced the nutritional status. Malnutrition was significantly higher in upper age group of geriatric (80 years and above). Malnutrition was more prominent in females (30.6%) as compared to the males (17.5%).
The elderly social characteristics that were associated with unsatisfactory nutritional status were low education, unmarried, not working as well as low income.
The study pointed out that 49.8% of the elderly with chronic diseases were malnourished, but this factor had no significant association with nutritional status. The number of medications used, together with the number of meals eaten in a day, all shown statistical significant link with nutritional status.
The highest rate of malnutrition and being at risk of malnutrition found among old aged who were depress and had memory impairment.
Conclusion and recommmendation: The study results emphasized the close connection between health status and malnutrition. The identification of probable predictive causes may permit better prevention and management of malnutrition in aged people.