Nutritional risk amongst community-living Maori and non-Maori older people in Hawke’s Bay
Hicks, Karen Anne
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McElnay, C., Marshall, B., O’Sullivan, J., Jones, L., Ashworth, T., Hicks, K. A. & Forrest, R. (2012) Nutritional risk amongst community-living Maori and non-Maori older people in Hawke’s Bay. Journal of Primary Health Care, 4(4), pp. 299-305.
INTRODUCTION: Maintaining good nutrition is vital for healthy ageing. Poor nutrition increases the risk of hospitalisation, disability and mortality. Research shows clinical malnutrition is preceded by a state of nutritional risk and screening can identify older people at risk of poor nutrition or who currently have impaired nutritional status. AIM: To assess the population prevalence of nutritional risk amongst community-living Maori and non-Maori older people in Hawke’s Bay. METHODS: A postal survey of 1268 people aged 65 years or older on the electoral roll for Hawke’s Bay was conducted. Nutritional risk was measured using the SCREEN II questionnaire. RESULTS: Responses from 473 people were received (43.8% male, 49.9% female, 6.3% unspecified) with an estimated average age of 74 years. Nutritional risk was present amongst 56.5% of older people with 23.7% at risk and 32.8% at high risk. Maori were 5.2 times more likely to be at nutritional risk than non-Maori. Older people living alone were 3.5 times more likely to be at nutritional risk than those living with others. The most frequent risk factors were low milk-product intake, perception of own weight being more or less than it should be, and low meat and alternatives intake. Skipping meals and low fruit and vegetable intake were additional frequent risk factors for Maori. DISCUSSION: Both living situation and ethnicity are associated with nutritional risk. Further investigation is needed to confirm these findings and to determine issues specific for older Maori, including barriers to good nutrition and opportunities for nutritional improvement.