Assessment of dietary intake and nutritional status (MNA) in Polish free-living elderly people from rural environments.
A dietary and biochemical assessment of the nutritional status of 260 elderly men and women, 60-101 y (average 80.5 y), was conducted in 15 long-term-care facilities in the Boston area. Subjects were free of clinically apparent terminal or wasting illness. Nutrient intakes were comparable to those in a simultaneously studied free-living population as were most biochemical markers of nutrient status. Although no specific nutrient deficiencies were identified, blood levels of vitamin A and retinol-binding protein in males and of zinc in both sexes were lower in this institutionalized group than in the free-living subjects. Hematologic indices, albumin, prealbumin, and transferrin levels were also lower than in noninstitutionalized elderly populations. These differences may reflect the greater prevalence of chronic diseases and medication use in a long-term-care population. However, there is no evidence that institutionalization in itself leads to impairment of nutritional status.