Anorexia and Eating Patterns in the Elderly

Antonio Pinto, Mario Barbagallo, Alessandro Pinto, Eleonora Poggiogalle, Domenico Cucinotta, Maria Piredda, Maria Piredda, Lorenzo Maria Donini, Giuseppe Sergi

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AbstractObjectives: To evaluate the change in eating habits occurring in community- dwelling and institutionalized elderly subjectswith senile anorexia.Design: Cross- sectional, observational.Setting: Community, nursing homes and rehabilitation or acute care facilities in four Italian regions.Participants: A random sample of 526 subjects, aged 65 years and older (217 free living individuals, 213 residents in nursinghomes, and 93 patients in rehabilitation and acute wards).Measurements: All subjects underwent a multidimensional geriatric evaluation of: nutritional status, anthropometricparameters, health and cognitive status, depression, taste, chewing and swallowing function, and some hormones relatedto appetite. Diet variety was assessed, considering the frequency of consumption of different food groups (milk and dairyproducts; meat, fish, and eggs; cereals and derivatives; fruit and vegetables).Results: In anorexic elderly subjects the global food intake was reduced, and the eating pattern was characterized by thereduced consumption of certain food groups (‘‘meat, eggs and fish’’ and ‘‘fruit and vegetables’’) whereas the frequency ofconsumption of milk and cereals remained almost unchanged. Nutritional parameters were significantly better in normaleating subjects and correlated with diet variety.Conclusion: Because of the high prevalence of senile anorexia in the geriatric population and its impact on the nutritionalstatus, further research should be prompted to establish an intervention. protocol allowing the early diagnosis of anorexiaof aging, aimed at identifying its causes and at optimizing treatment of anorexic patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e63539-
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS One
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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    Pinto, A., Barbagallo, M., Pinto, A., Poggiogalle, E., Cucinotta, D., Piredda, M., Piredda, M., Donini, L. M., & Sergi, G. (2013). Anorexia and Eating Patterns in the Elderly. PLoS One, 8, e63539-.