Nutritional status according to the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA®) and frailty in community dwelling older persons: A close relationship

Research paper by Julia Bollwein, D. Volkert, R. Diekmann, M. J. Kaiser, W. Uter, K. Vidal, C. C. Sieber, J. M. Bauer

Indexed on: 11 Apr '13Published on: 11 Apr '13Published in: The journal of nutrition, health & aging


This study investigates the association between MNA results and frailty status in community-dwelling older adults. In addition the relevance of singular MNA items and subscores in this regard was tested.Cross-sectional study.Community-dwelling older adults were recruited in the region of Nürnberg, Germany.206 volunteers aged 75 years or older without cognitive impairment (Mini Mental State Examination >24 points), 66.0% female.Frailty was defined according to Fried et al. as presence of three, pre-frailty as presence of one or two of the following criteria: weight loss, exhaustion, low physical activity, low handgrip strength and slow walking speed. Malnutrition (<17 points) and the risk of malnutrition (17–23.5 points) were determined by MNA®.15.1% of the participants were at risk of malnutrition, no participant was malnourished. 15.5 % were frail, 39.8% pre-frail and 44.7% non-frail. 46.9% of the frail, 12.2% of the pre-frail and 2.2% of the non-frail participants were at risk of malnutrition (p<0.001). Hence, 90% of those at risk of malnutrition were either pre-frail or frail. For the anthropometric, dietary, subjective and functional, but not for the general MNA subscore, frail participants scored significantly lower than pre-frail (p<0.01), and non-frail participants (p<0.01). Twelve of the 18 MNA items were also significantly associated with frailty (p<0.05).These results underline the close association between frailty syndrome and nutritional status in older persons. A profound understanding of the interdependency of these two geriatric concepts will represent the basis for successful treatment strategies.