Less healthy elderly eating less food are identified by a modified MNA tool

Dorit Nitzan Kaluski, Felicia Stern, J. Kachal, Rebecca Goldsmith, Tal Shimony, Rita Dichtiar, Lital Keinan Boker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The MABAT ZAHAV survey is part of several National Health and Nutrition surveys conducted in Israel
over the past decade in different population groups. Objectives: To ascertain whether a modified form of the Mini Nutritional
Assessment (MNA) tool identifies community-dwelling elderly Jews at risk of malnutrition by evaluating their food groups and
nutrient intakes. Design: A Cross-sectional study. Participants and setting: A total of 1,499 free-living Jewish elderly sampled from
two major Health Insurance Funds in Israel were interviewed at their homes. This study analyses were restricted to 1,016 and 1,067
elderly with modified full MNA and modified MNA-SF, respectively. Measurements: Nutritional status was assessed using a
modified full MNA and a modified short form MNA (MNA-SF). To evaluate food intake, a 24-hour dietary recall was carried out.
Results: Based on the modified full MNA score, about 64% of the elderly had normal nutritional status, 34% were at risk of
malnutrition and 2% were malnourished. The corresponding proportions based on the modified MNA-SF score were 66%, 28% and
6%, respectively. According to the modified full MNA, elderly 'at risk of malnutrition' compared to those with 'normal nutritional
status', consumed significantly less portions of some food groups. Their energy, macronutrient and selected micronutrient intakes
were also significantly lower. According to the MNA-SF, the only significant differences were found for energy, macronutrients and
selected micronutrients, with a lower consumption in the elderly at risk of malnutrition. With the modified full MNA being utilized
as a gold-standard, the modified MNA-SF sensitivity (for 'risk of malnutrition' vs. 'normal nutritional status') was 85% and its
specificity, 96%. Conclusions: The modified full MNA accurately captures elderly at risk of malnutrition, and its scores are highly
correlated to those of the modified MNA-SF. Thus MNA-SF can be used by the community health care services to screen for
malnutrition risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


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