Screening for undernutrition in geriatric practice: developing the short-form mini-nutritional assessment (MNA-SF)

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2001 Jun;56(6):M366-72. doi: 10.1093/gerona/56.6.m366.


Background: The Mini-Nutritional Assessment (MNA) is a validated assessment instrument for nutritional problems, but its length limits its usefulness for screening. We sought to develop a screening version of this instrument, the MNA-SF, that retains good diagnostic accuracy.

Methods: We reanalyzed data from France that were used to develop the original MNA and combined these with data collected in Spain and New MEXICO: Of the 881 subjects with complete MNA data, 151 were from France, 400 were from Spain, and 330 were from New MEXICO: Independent ratings of clinical nutritional status were available for 142 of the French subjects. Overall, 73.8% were community dwelling, and mean age was 76.4 years. Items were chosen for the MNA-SF on the basis of item correlation with the total MNA score and with clinical nutritional status, internal consistency, reliability, completeness, and ease of administration.

Results: After testing multiple versions, we identified an optimal six-item MNA-SF total score ranging from 0 to 14. The cut-point score for MNA-SF was calculated using clinical nutritional status as the gold standard (n = 142) and using the total MNA score (n = 881). The MNA-SF was strongly correlated with the total MNA score (r = .945). Using an MNA-SF score of > or = 11 as normal, sensitivity was 97.9%, specificity was 100%, and diagnostic accuracy was 98.7% for predicting undernutrition.

Conclusions: The MNA-SF can identify persons with undernutrition and can be used in a two-step screening process in which persons, identified as "at risk" on the MNA-SF, would receive additional assessment to confirm the diagnosis and plan interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Female
  • Geriatrics / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Nutrition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Professional Practice*