Published: 2016-12-21

A community based cross-sectional study to assess malnutrition among elderly population residing in urban and rural areas of a district in Karnataka, India

Ananthesh B. G., Geeta V. Bathija, Dattatraya D. Bant


Background: The geriatric age group is the fastest-growing segment of the population in most of the countries. Malnutrition has emerged as an important problem among elderly. Nutritional status of the elderly population is seldom focused upon. This study was conducted to evaluate malnutrition among elderly population and its association with sociodemographic correlates and to compare the nutritional status of elderly living in the urban and rural areas of a district in Karnataka.  

Methods:A cross-sectional study was conducted among 102 urban and 102 rural residents of Dharwad district for a period of 4 months using pre-designed and structured questionnaire which include details of sociodemographic data and nutritional status which was assessed using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) questionnaire.

Results: The prevalence of malnutrition was found to be 18.6 %. Among 204 subjects, 42.6% were well nourished and 38.7% were at risk of malnutrition. Elderly living in rural are more malnourished than urban areas. And 12.7% of elderly living in urban area were obese, whereas only 7.8% of rural elderly were obese. A significant association was found between nutritional status with age, literacy and the socioeconomic status of the elderly.

Conclusions:High prevalence of under-nutrition (at risk of malnutrition and malnutrition) was found in our study. With higher percentages in elderly living in rural area, among illiterates and with low socioeconomic status. This study emphasizes increased need to give attention to the nutritional needs of elderly and also to screen and support elderly with malnutrition. 


Elderly population, Karnataka, MNA, Nutritional status, Urban and rural area

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