a1 Department of Food Sciences, Nutrition, Physiology and Toxicology, University of Navarra, Irunlarrea 1, E-31080 Pamplona, Spain
a2 Spanish Pharmacists Council, Madrid, Spain
a3 Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
a4 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
Objectives To evaluate the prevalence of undernutrition among community-dwelling elderly people in Spain using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) and to analyse its distribution according to age, gender and residence region.
Design Cross-sectional study assessing the nutritional status of elderly persons through both the short form and the full version of the MNA test.
Setting Pharmacy offices across the whole country (Spain) were enrolled to recruit participants.
Subjects A total of 22 007 participants (8014 men and 13 993 women), aged ≥65 years, assessed during the last two months of 2005.
Results According to MNA screening, 4·3 % subjects were classified as undernourished (MNA score <17) and 25·4 % were at risk of undernutrition (MNA score ≥17 to ≤23·5). The MNA short form correlated strongly with the full MNA version (r = 0·85). MNA total score was significantly higher in men than in women (25·4 (sd 3·7) v. 24·6 (sd 3·9); P < 0·001) and lower in the oldest than in the youngest subjects (P < 0·001) in both genders. According to regional distribution, the best nutritional status was found in elderly from the north of Spain excluding the north-west area.
Conclusions Female gender, older age and living in the south half or north-west of the country were associated with higher rates of undernutrition among community-dwelling elderly persons in Spain.
(Received March 29 2007)
(Accepted January 14 2008)