Nutritional status according to the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA®) and frailty in community dwelling older persons: A close relationship



This study investigates the association between MNA results and frailty status in community-dwelling older adults. In addition the relevance of singular MNA items and subscores in this regard was tested.


Cross-sectional study.


Community-dwelling older adults were recruited in the region of Nürnberg, Germany.


206 volunteers aged 75 years or older without cognitive impairment (Mini Mental State Examination >24 points), 66.0% female.


Frailty was defined according to Fried et al. as presence of three, pre-frailty as presence of one or two of the following criteria: weight loss, exhaustion, low physical activity, low handgrip strength and slow walking speed. Malnutrition (<17 points) and the risk of malnutrition (17–23.5 points) were determined by MNA®.


15.1% of the participants were at risk of malnutrition, no participant was malnourished. 15.5 % were frail, 39.8% pre-frail and 44.7% non-frail. 46.9% of the frail, 12.2% of the pre-frail and 2.2% of the non-frail participants were at risk of malnutrition (p<0.001). Hence, 90% of those at risk of malnutrition were either pre-frail or frail. For the anthropometric, dietary, subjective and functional, but not for the general MNA subscore, frail participants scored significantly lower than pre-frail (p<0.01), and non-frail participants (p<0.01). Twelve of the 18 MNA items were also significantly associated with frailty (p<0.05).


These results underline the close association between frailty syndrome and nutritional status in older persons. A profound understanding of the interdependency of these two geriatric concepts will represent the basis for successful treatment strategies.

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Correspondence to Julia Bollwein.

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Bollwein, J., Volkert, D., Diekmann, R. et al. Nutritional status according to the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA®) and frailty in community dwelling older persons: A close relationship. J Nutr Health Aging 17, 351–356 (2013).

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Key words

  • Mini Nutritional Assessment
  • MNA subscores
  • frailty
  • risk of malnutrition
  • community-dwelling older adults