Objective: To assess the nutritional status of institutionalized Taiwanese elderly with the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) and to determine whether the application of population-specific MAC and CC cutoff values can improve the functionality of the instrument.
Design: Purposive sampling Setting: A long-term care facility with approximately 350 elderly residents in central Taiwan Participants: All residents who were 65 years or older and willing to participate.
Measurements: A survey questionnaire covering sociodemographic variables, lifestyle and food pattern, measurements of anthropometrics and blood pressure, and a sampling of fast blood for laboratory assays.
Results: The original MNA, without BMI data, predicted 23.1% and 58.8% of participants in a long-term care facility in Taiwan malnourished and at risk of malnutrition, respectively. Replacing the original MAC and CC cutoff values with population-specific values and adjusting the assigned scores of MAC and CC (to cover BMI scores) changed the predicted nutritional status in 16.2% of the participants. The modifications significantly increased the correlationship of the MNA scores with the anthropometric, biochemical and health status indicators of the elderly, suggesting an improvement in functionality of the instrument.
Conclusion: The MNA can predict nutritional risk status in institutionalized elderly Taiwanese even without BMI data. However, whenever possible, population-specific anthropometric cutoff values should be applied to improve the functionality of the MNA.