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Assessment of nutritional status among elderly population in a rural area of West Bengal, India

Surajit Lahiri, Atanu Biswas, Sutanuka Santra, Saibendu Kumar Lahiri.

Background: Geriatric population is a potentially vulnerable group for malnutrition as per 2002 census of the World Health Organization.

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of malnutrition and risk of malnutrition among elderly population in Arkhali village, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India.

Materials and Methods: This community-based cross-sectional study was carried out in Arkhali village, Amdanga Block, rural field practice area of Department of Community Medicine, R. G. Kar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India, among 235 elderly individuals aged ≥ 60 years during February to March 2014 by applying Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) questionnaire. Elderly individuals were interviewed after obtaining informed verbal consent.

Results: MNA showed 29.4% elderly had malnutrition and 60.4% were at risk of malnutrition. Females (59.4%) were significantly more malnourished than males (40.6%). Older age (p < 0.001), lower income of family (p < 0.001), low literacy level (p < 0.001), decreased food intake (p < 0.001), and fewer consumption of meals (p < 0.001) were independently associated with lower MNA scores.

Conclusion: Nutritional status of elderly subjects is very poor as detected in this study. There is need and scope for geriatric nutritional interventions in rural population.

Key words: Mini Nutritional Assessment, geriatrics, malnutrition, West Bengal

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