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Community-Dwelling Adults At Nutrition Risk: Characteristics In Relation To The Consumption Of Oral Nutritional Supplements

Suela Sulo, Linda Schiffer, Patricia Sheean, Isabel Farrar, Jamie Partridge, Marian Fitzgibbon

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Purpose: Nutrition risk and utilization rate of simple but effective interventions such as oral nutritional supplementation (ONS) in community settings in the United States, particularly among older adults, has received little emphasis. We conducted a cross-sectional study of community-dwelling adults ≥55 years of age and living independently to assess their risk of poor nutrition and characteristics in relation to ONS consumption. Methods: Demographic characteristics, activities of daily living (ADL), and health care resource utilization in the past 6 months were also collected via telephone survey. Nutrition risk was assessed with the abridged Patient-Generated Subjective Global Assessment (abPG-SGA) and the DETERMINE Checklist. A logistic regression model tested possible predictors of ONS use. Results: Of 1001 participants surveyed, 996 provided data on ONS use and 11% (n = 114) reported consuming ONS during the past 6 months. ONS users were more likely to be at high nutrition risk than nonusers based on both abPG-SGA (43% vs 24%, P < .001) and DETERMINE Checklist (68% vs 48%, P < .001) scores. ONS users reported less functional independence based on ADL scores (86% vs 92%, P = .03), taking ≥3 medications/day (77% vs 53%, P < .001), and utilizing more health care services. Higher nutrition risk (per abPG-SGA), lower body mass index, hospitalization in the past 6 months, and ≥3 medications/day were each independently associated with ONS use ( P < .05). Conclusions: Although one in four, urban community-dwelling adults (≥55 years of age) were classified as at high nutrition risk in our study, only 11% reported consuming ONS—a simple and effective nutrition intervention. Efforts to improve identification of nutrition risk and implement ONS interventions could benefit nutritionally vulnerable, community-dwelling adults.