1. Chu, Julie MSN

Article Content

According to this study:


* Undereating is common in homebound older adults and is associated with male gender, care provided more or less than once a day, and higher body mass index.



Homebound older adults are vulnerable to undereating, defined as not consuming enough calories to maintain their current body weight. Multiple factors may increase the risk of undereating, some of which may be modified by targeted nutritional interventions.


Researchers interviewed 230 homebound older adults (mean age, 79 years) receiving home health care to assess for medical, functional, economic, oral health, social, religious, and psychological factors that might affect their nutritional intake. Height and weight measurements (self-reported by participants who were unable to stand) were obtained, as were three 24-hour dietary recalls over two weeks, which were averaged for each participant and used to determine the mean daily caloric intake.


The results revealed that 70% of study participants were undereating. Factors associated with undereating were having a lower level of education, being a male gender, being hospitalized prior to beginning home health care, having a primary caregiver who wasn't a daughter or other female family member, having care provided less than or more than once daily, participating in more private religious practices, and having a higher body mass index.


Nurses can use this information to optimize nutritional intake in this population by developing evidence-based interventions, particularly of a social or behavioral nature.




Locher JL, et al. Gerontologist 2008;48(2): 223-34.