Mental Health and Number of Illnesses Are Predictors of Nutritional Risk in Elderly Persons

Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson, Mary Ann Johnson, Leonard W. Poon, Peter Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Data from a sample of elders (N = 240) in their 60s, 80s, and 100s indicated that nutritional risk was positively correlated with age (p <.05), ethnicity (p <.05), number of illnesses (p <.001), and poor mental health (p <.001).Regression analysis suggested that number of illnesses (p =.0001) and mental health (p =.0005) were the most significant predictors of nutritional risk and that these two variables explained 28.8% of the variance for the total sample. Somatic factors of mental health were significantly related to nutritional risk (p =.0001). Regression analyses for these age cohorts indicated that mental health was a highly significant predictor of nutritional risk for 80- to 89-year-olds (p =.004), particularly somatic aspects of mental health (p =.03). Although somatic factors were highly significant among centenarians (p =.005), overall mental health was not a predictor of nutritional risk in centenarians (p =.08). Number of illnesses was the primary predictor of nutritional risk among sexagenarians and octogenarians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-154
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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