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Sibai, Abla-Mehio; Zard, Chantal; Adra, Nada; Baydoun, May; & Hwalla (Baba), Nahla (2003). Variations in Nutritional Status of Elderly Men and Women according to Place of Residence. Gerontology, 49(4), 215-224.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess comprehensively the nutritional status of elderly individuals in institutions and to compare it with that of community based dwellers in an urban setting in Lebanon.
Methods: Participants included 100 elderly men and women (aged 65 years and older) selected randomly from four institutions who were based on sex and neighborhood with 100 free-living individuals. Subjects were mentally and physically capable of responding to an interview schedule. Their nutritional status was assessed by anthropometric measurements, dietary food intake for a 3-day period, and hematological and biochemical variables. Energy and macro- and micronutrient intakes were compared with the US recommended dietary allowances (RDA) or dietary reference intakes (DRI) as appropriate.
Results: Elderly living at home had significantly higher mean body mass index and waist circumference than those living in institutions. Although the total energy intake was comparable between the two groups, the elderly in the institutions consumed more fat and had lower intake of dietary fibers. Deficiencies (below 2/3rd RDA/DRI intakes) in zinc, magnesium, alpha-tocopherol, vitamins A and D, and pyridoxine were noted in both study groups with overall higher proportions observed among the institutionalized elderly. These were also anemic (42.5%) and had low levels of albumin (27.5%). In contrast, those living at home showed a higher prevalence of obesity and a lower calcium intake. Multivariate analysis controlling for a number of potential covariates did not change the results observed.
Conclusions: The results of the present study showed a higher prevalence of obesity in those living at home and varying deficiencies by place of residence with no evidence that duration of institutionalization in itself being associated with poor nutritional status. Awareness of the risks associated with these deficiencies and excesses should address the lay and health professionals working in the community and institutions alike.


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Sibai, Abla-Mehio
Zard, Chantal
Adra, Nada
Baydoun, May
Hwalla (Baba), Nahla