Predictors of Incident Malnutrition in Older Irish Adults from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing Cohort - A MaNuEL study

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Older adults are at increased risk of malnutrition, which is associated with poorer health, quality of life, and worse disease outcomes. This study identifies predictors of incident malnutrition using data from a subsample (n = 1,841) of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Participants were excluded if they were less than 65 years, missing body mass index data at baseline or follow-up, missing baseline weight loss data or malnourished at baseline (body mass index <20 kg/m2 or unplanned weight loss ≥4.5 kg in the previous year). Logistic regression analysis was performed with incident malnutrition (body mass index <20 kg/m2 and/or calculated weight loss >10% over follow-up) as the dependent variable. Factors showing significant (p < .05) univariate associations with incident malnutrition were entered into a multivariate model. The analysis was then repeated, stratified by sex. The 2-year incidence of malnutrition was 10.7%. Unmarried/separated/divorced status (vs married but not widowed), hospitalization in the previous year, difficulties walking 100 m, or climbing stairs independently predicted incident malnutrition at follow-up. When examined by sex, hospitalization in the previous year, falls during follow-up, and self-reported difficulties climbing stairs predicted malnutrition in males. Receiving social support and cognitive impairment predicted malnutrition in females. The development of malnutrition has a range of predictors. These can be assessed using simple questions to identify vulnerable persons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-256
Number of pages8
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series A : Biological sciences and medical sciences
Issue number2
Early online date25 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


This work was supported by the European Union Joint Programming Initiative “A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life” MalNutrition in the ELderly knowledge hub. The funding agencies supporting the work are (in alphabetical order of participating Member State): Austria: Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy; France: Ecole Supérieure d’Agricultures; Germany: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture represented by the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food; Ireland: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; and the Health Research Board (grant number 15/RD/HDHL/ MANUEL); Spain: Instituto de Salud Carlos III, and the SENATOR trial (FP7-HEALTH-2012–305930); The Netherlands: The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw).

FundersFunder number
European Union Joint Programming Initiative
Health Research Board15/RD/HDHL/ MANUEL
Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft
Department of Agriculture, Australian Government
Instituto de Salud Carlos IIIFP7-HEALTH-2012–305930
Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft
Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung


    • Community-dwelling
    • Protein–energy malnutrition
    • Undernutrition


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