British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

Short-form Mini-Nutritional Assessment with either BMI or calf circumference is effective in rating the nutritional status of elderly Taiwanese – results of a national cohort study

Alan C. Tsaia1a2 c1, Tsui-Lan Changa3a4 and Jiun-Yi Wanga1

a1 Department of Healthcare Administration, Asia University, 500 Liufeng Road, Wufeng, Taichung 41354, Taiwan, ROC

a2 Department of Health Services Management, School of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung 404, Taiwan, ROC

a3 Department of Nursing, Hsin Yung Ho Hospital, Taoyuan 324, Taiwan, ROC

a4 Department of Nursing, Hsin Sheng College of Medical Care and Management, Taoyuan 325, Taiwan, ROC


The present study was aimed to validate two normalised short-form (SF) Mini-Nutritional Assessments (MNA) that contained either BMI (Taiwan version 1, T1) or calf circumference (CC; Taiwan version 2, T2) for rating the nutritional status of elderly Taiwanese. Both versions adopted Taiwanese anthropometric cut-offs, but T2 further had the BMI item replaced by CC. We compared the ability of the two SF in rating the nutritional status of 2674 elderly Taiwanese in the 1999 ‘Taiwan Longitudinal Survey on Aging’ with their respective full versions. We evaluated the agreement between the SF and full scales with weighted κ and performed Cox regression analysis for the follow-up 4-year mortality according to nutritional status rated at baseline. The results showed that the agreements between the respective SF and the full MNA were good (weighted κ: 0·679 for T1 and 0·667 for T2). Both SF performed well in predicting follow-up 4-year mortality relative to the full MNA. In conclusion, MNA-T1-SF and -T2-SF have good consistency with the full MNA and have quite comparable abilities in rating the nutritional status of elderly Taiwanese. Both SF versions appear appropriate for functioning as stand-alone units for rating the nutritional status of the elderly in community-living settings or the general population.

(Received July 06 2012)

(Revised December 21 2012)

(Accepted January 12 2013)

(Online publication February 25 2013)

Key Words:

  • Mini-Nutritional Assessment;
  • Nutritional assessment;
  • Malnutrition;
  • Elderly;
  • Taiwan


c1 Corresponding author: Professor A. C. Tsai, fax +886 4 2332 1206, email


  Abbreviations: CC, calf circumference; MNA, Mini-Nutritional Assessment; SF, short form; T1, Taiwanese version 1; T2, Taiwanese version 2