Feasibility and reliability of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) in older adults with intellectual disabilities

J Nutr Health Aging. 2012;16(9):759-62. doi: 10.1007/s12603-012-0050-z.


Objective: Feasibility and reliability of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) in older adults with intellectual disabilities (ID).

Design: Instrument development.

Setting: Three care providers for people with ID.

Participants: 48 persons aged 50 years and over with borderline to profound ID and their professional caregivers.

Measurements: The MNA was performed by means of interviews with participants (N = 12) and caregivers (N = 48) and physical assessments of participants (N = 47). Aspects of feasibility: completion of interview, difficulty of answering interview items, duration of interview and completion of physical assessment. Aspects of reliability: inter-observer reliability between caregivers and between participants and caregivers, test-retest reliability and internal consistency. For inter-observer and test-retest reliability, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were calculated, and for internal consistency Chronbach's alpha.

Results: All participants and caregivers completed the interview part. For 7 out of 12 personally interviewed participants and none of the caregivers, at least 3 out of 15 questions were difficult to answer. Mean duration of the interview was 7 minutes in participants and 4 minutes in caregivers. Physical assessment was successfully performed in 40 participants (85.1%). In the remaining 7 participants (14.9%) missing values were retrieved from the medical records. ICCs (95% confidence interval) for test-retest and inter-observer reliability between caregivers were good, 0.85 (0.72 - 0.92) and 0.86 (0.74 - 0.92) respectively, but ICC for inter-observer reliability between caregivers and persons with ID was low, 0.03 (-0.51 - 0.59). Internal consistency was 0.61.

Conclusion: The MNA is feasible and reliable for older people with ID. Interview data can be reliably obtained through caregivers, but not through people with ID.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Caregivers*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Interviews as Topic / standards*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Physical Examination
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*