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Yap KB, Niti M, Ng TP
Correspondence: Dr Yap Keng Bee, email@example.com
Introduction This study aimed to describe responses to the DETERMINE checklist and the nutritional risk level of community-dwelling older Chinese in Singapore, aged 55 years and older.
Methods Data was collected from a community health screening project for elderly residents in Singapore. All residents aged 55 years and older in the survey area were identified in door-to-door census surveys and were invited to participate. Participants completed a questionnaire interview conducted by research nurses. The survey also included questions which were potential predictors of nutritional risk: sociodemographic factors (age, gender, education, housing type, marital status, and living arrangement) and health-related factors (self-rated health, number of medical comorbidities, hospitalisations in the past year, functional disabilities and physical health status).
Results Data for analysis was provided by 2,605 Chinese subjects aged between 55 and 98 years (mean/standard deviation 66.0/7.7). The overall prevalence of nutritional risk (according to a DETERMINE score of 3 or greater) was 30.1 percent. 1,822 (69.9 percent) subjects had no nutritional risk (scores of 2 or lower), 664 (25.5 percent) had moderate nutritional risk and 119 (4.6 percent) had high nutritional risk. The most common contributions to nutritional risks were: changing food intake due to illness (40.3 percent), taking three or more different medications daily (25.0 percent), eating alone (14.5 percent) and consuming insufficient amount of fruits, vegetables or milk products on a daily basis (9.0 percent). Respondents at nutritional risk were more likely to have three or more comorbid medical conditions, were hospitalised in the past year, were functionally dependent on one or more instrumental or basic activities of daily living, were reported to have poor or fair self-rated health, and were in the lowest tertile scores for SF-12 quality of life and depression.
Conclusion Self-rated general health, lowered quality of life, functional disability and depression have meaningful non-circular associations with the checklist. These support the validity of the DETERMINE checklist in predicting the risk of adverse health conditions and events.
Keywords: community-dwelling older adults, health outcomes, nutrition screening, older adults
Singapore Med J 2007; 48(10): 911-916