Longitudinal assessment of the nutritional status of elderly veterans

Karen Marie Chapman-Novakofski, Joan O. Ham, Robert A. Pearlman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Elderly persons are at risk for developing malnutrition due to a number of age-related factors, and conversely, malnutrition can worsen declining physiological and psychosocial conditions. The purpose of this study was to determine the nutritional status of an elderly, ambulatory outpatient population, and to evaluate change in nutritional status over a 2-year period. The 209 subjects were male veterans, over 65 years of age without acute disease-related nutritional risk factors. Nutrient intake was determined through food recalls and food frequency questionnaires. Anthropometries included circumferences and skinfolds. Laboratory measures included selected minerals and vitamins, as well as hematological and lipid profiles. Mean intake of nutrients generally met or exceeded the Recommended Dietary Allowances with the exception of calories, although > 25% of subjects consumed inadequate amounts of thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. Few subjects were found to be extremely underweight or obese, although skin folds decreased over the two years. Mean laboratory measures were within normal range with the exception of selenium, cholesterol, and low density lipoprotein. Dietary, biochemical, and anthropometric data indicate good nutritional status in general, although dietary vitamin C, vitamin A, and calcium may be poor in subgroups; body fat as assessed by skinfolds appeared to decline; and selenium, lipid profiles, and hematological profiles warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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