Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate sex- and age-related variations of the nutritional status in the aged population of central Sardinia, a geographical area with a high frequency of long-lived people, particularly men.
Design: The sample consisted of 200 subjects over 70 years of age (men: N= 100, age= 81.0 +/- 7.0 years; women: N= 100, age= 81.5 +/- 7.3 years).
Setting: Orroli (central Sardinia, Italy).
Measurements: Mini nutritional assessment (MNA) and bioelectrical impedance vector analysis (BIVA) were used to evaluate nutritional status and body composition.
Results: The indicators revealed a generally good nutritional status. The MNA results (men: 24.6 +/- 2.2; women: 23.4 +/- 2.5) showed that 64.1% of the subjects had a normal nutritional status and only a small proportion (1.2%) could be classified as malnourished. BIVA showed that most subjects (74.2%) were normal, while the prevalence of low body cell mass was 10.7% and that of dehydration 11.2%. According to the MNA, the nutritional status was significantly better in the men. Almost three-quarters of the men (73.1%) were well nourished vs. half of the women (50.6%). A worsening of the nutritional status with age was observed. The proportion of malnourished individuals, as assessed by MNA, increased from 0% to 9.1% from 70-79 to > 90 years.
Conclusions: With respect to their contemporaries from other regions, the elderly of Orroli presented a better nutritional status, a similar worsening with age and generally higher sexual dimorphism.