Nutrition screening of older people in a community general practice, using the MNA-SF


Background: Objective

The study aimed to determine the prevalence of malnutrition risk in a population of older people (aged 75 years and over) attending a community general practice and identify characteristics of those classified as malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.


Cross-sectional study of nutritional risk screen conducted over a six month period.

Participants and setting

Patients attending a general practice clinic in Victoria, Australia, who attended for the “75 plus” health assessment check.


The Mini Nutritional Assessment Short Form (MNA®-SF) was included as part of the health assessment. Information was collected on living situation, co-morbidities, independence with meal preparation and eating, number of medications. Height and weight was measured and MNA®-SF score recorded.


Two hundred and twenty five patients attending a general practice for a health assessment with a mean age of 81.3(4.3)(SD) years, 52% female and 34% living alone. Only one patient was categorised by the MNA®-SF as malnourished, with an additional 16% classified as at risk of malnutrition. The mean Body Mass Index (BMI) of the at-risk group was significantly lower than the well-nourished group (23.6 ± 0.8 (SEM) vs 27.4 ± 0.3; p=0.0001). However, 34% of the at-risk group had a BMI of 25 or more with only 13% in the underweight category.


In this population of older adults attending their general practitioner for an annual health assessment, one in six were identified as being at nutritional risk which is an additional risk factor for a severe health issue. Importantly, one third of the at-risk group had a BMI in the overweight or obese category, highlighting that older people can be at nutritional risk although they may be overweight or obese.

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Correspondence to Jane Winter.

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Winter, J., Flanagan, D., Mcnaughton, S.A. et al. Nutrition screening of older people in a community general practice, using the MNA-SF. J Nutr Health Aging 17, 322–325 (2013).

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Key words

  • Malnutrition
  • Mini Nutritional Assessment
  • elderly
  • community
  • General Practice