Food intake assessment in acutely ill older internal medicine patients

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Aim: Poor food intake is a major concern among hospitalized older adults. This study investigated the frequency and optimal timing of in-hospital food intake assessment in terms of its ability to predict hospitalization functional outcomes. Methods: Secondary analysis of a cohort study of 699 older adults (age ≥70 years) admitted to internal medicine wards for non-disabling conditions was carried out. Daily food intake was assessed using self-reported estimation of portions consumed at each meal and calculated according to the caloric composition of the meals. Nutritional status on admission, baseline and discharge activities of daily living, and cognitive status were assessed using validated questionnaires. Repeated measures analysis of variance (n = 263) and multiple logistic regression models (n = 475) for predicting activities of daily living and cognitive decline were used to establish required frequency and optimal timing of food-intake monitoring. Results: Mean daily intake significantly increased from the first 48 h from admission (0.51 ± 0.30) to the second and third assessments (0.62 ± 0.30 and 0.63 ± 0.30, respectively). Eating half or less of the served meals both within the first 48 h of admission and after 48 h was associated with higher odds of cognitive decline (OR 1.93, 95% CI 1.27–2.94; OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.04–2.51, respectively). Low intake after 48 h of admission was associated with higher odds of activities of daily living decline (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.03–2.67). Conclusions: Food intake increases from the first 48 h of admission onwards and becomes more consistent 3 days after admission. The associations between low food intake at various time points and worse functional outcomes show the importance of routine food intake monitoring for at least 3 days. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2019; 19: 890–895.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890-895
Number of pages6
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Japan Geriatrics Society


  • activities of daily living
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • eating
  • hospitalization
  • nutritional status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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