Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine
Iberoamerican Journal of Medicine
Original article

Assessing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Nutrition in Older Adults in Japan: Insights from a Mini-Nutrition Assessment Short Form Survey

Evaluación del impacto de la pandemia de COVID-19 en la nutrición de los adultos mayores en Japón: Perspectivas de una encuesta breve de evaluación de la nutrición

Morisaki Naoko, Numata Keizo, Morisawa Hiroyuki

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Introduction: The coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic has changed the daily lives of older adults in Japan, requiring them to wear masks and limit their movements. As lifestyle changes affect people's health, it is likely that some changes have occurred in their nutrition, which is the foundation of health. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the nutrition of older adults living at home during the pandemic period and identify the impact of the pandemic.
Material and methods: The nutrition of older adults living at home was surveyed using the Mini-Nutrition Assessment Short Form (MNA-SF®). The target population was older adults living at home who were independent or in need of care. Surveys were conducted before and during the pandemic. Associations between the two survey periods and the MNA-SF® (nutrition assessment, sub-item) were analysed using χ-square or Fisher's test. The analysis was conducted separately for independent older adults and older adults in need of care.
Results: Regarding nutrition assessment, our survey results indicated that 39.5% of older adults were considered "well-nourished," 46% were "at risk for malnutrition," and 14.5% were "malnourished" during the pandemic period. The analysis showed no significant differences in nutrition assessment by survey period for all participants. However, differences were observed in the sub-items before and during the pandemic. Significant differences were observed in neuropsychological problems and body mass index among independent older adults, and in neuropsychological problems, mobility, and reduced food intake among older adults in need of care.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that the pandemic has changed the risk factors for undernutrition among older adults living at home, and that these changed factors may differ in part depending on whether they need care.


Elderly; COVID-19; Nutritional status; MNA®-SF


Introducción: La pandemia de la enfermedad por coronavirus-2019 ha cambiado la vida cotidiana de los adultos mayores en Japón, requiriendo que usen máscaras y limiten sus movimientos. Dado que los cambios en el estilo de vida afectan la salud de las personas, es probable que se hayan producido algunos cambios en su nutrición, que es la base de la salud. Por lo tanto, este estudio tuvo como objetivo examinar la nutrición de los adultos mayores que viven en el hogar durante el período de la pandemia e identificar el impacto de la pandemia.
Material y métodos: Se encuestó la nutrición de los adultos mayores que viven en el hogar mediante el Mini-Nutrition Assessment Short Form (MNA-SF®). La población objetivo fueron los adultos mayores que vivían en su hogar, que eran independientes o necesitaban cuidados. Las encuestas se realizaron antes y durante la pandemia. Las asociaciones entre los dos períodos de la encuesta y el MNA-SF® (evaluación nutricional, subelemento) se analizaron mediante la prueba de χ-cuadrado o de Fisher. El análisis se realizó por separado para adultos mayores independientes y adultos mayores con necesidad de atención.
Resultados: En cuanto a la evaluación de la nutrición, los resultados de nuestra encuesta indicaron que el 39,5% de los adultos mayores se consideraban "bien nutridos", el 46% estaban "en riesgo de desnutrición" y el 14,5% estaban "desnutridos" durante el período de pandemia. El análisis no mostró diferencias significativas en la evaluación de la nutrición por período de encuesta para todos los participantes. Sin embargo, se observaron diferencias en los subítems antes y durante la pandemia. Se observaron diferencias significativas en problemas neuropsicológicos e índice de masa corporal entre adultos mayores independientes, y en problemas neuropsicológicos, movilidad e ingesta reducida de alimentos entre adultos mayores necesitados de cuidados.
Conclusiones: Nuestros resultados sugieren que la pandemia ha cambiado los factores de riesgo de desnutrición entre los adultos mayores que viven en el hogar, y que estos factores modificados pueden diferir en parte dependiendo de si necesitan atención.

Palabras clave

Ancianos; COVID-19; Estado nutricional; MNA®-SF


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