Frailty and malnutrition
Frailty is recognized as a geriatric syndrome and describes old people at high risk of adverse health outcomes. Due to a decline in physiological reserves, frail old people confronted by stress might be or are at high risk of disability, illness, hospitalization, or mortality.
A high malnutrition prevalence among frail elderly
With a prevalence ranging from 20% to 60% malnutrition is commonly reported among the elderly frail population. Malnourished elderly patients are characterized by unintended weight loss and/or acute or chronic imbalance between intake and requirements.
Low protein intake and loss of muscle function in the frail elderly
Energy and protein intake decreases with age and 25% of elderly may not reach the recommended dietary intake. Compared to robust elderly, the protein intake in frail elderly has been shown to be lower, thus increasing the risk of muscle loss. As a result, muscle function, mobility and independence may be affected, leading to an impaired quality of life.
Therefore a high protein supplementation is recommended for the frail elderly (on HCP advice) in order to gain strength and improve clinical outcomes.
- Fried LP, Tangen CM, Walston J, et al. for the Cardiovascular Health Study Collaborative Research Group. Frailty in older adults: evidence for a phenotype. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2001;56:146–56.
- Abellan van Kan G., Rolland Y., Houles M., Gillette-Guyonnet S., Soto M., Vellas B. The Assessmentof Frailty in Older Adults. Clin Geriatr Med 2010; 26 : 275–286
- Stratton R, Green C, Elia M. Disease-related malnutrition: an evidence based approach to treatment. Wallingford: CABI Publishing; 2003.