As life expectancy increases, so do the problems of the elderly population. One major problem is that of protein calorie malnutrition; another is the susceptibility of this population to pressure sores. The purpose of this study was to determine if a correlation exists between deteriorating nutritional status and the development of pressure sores. The nutritional status of 232 nursing home patients (mean age 72.9 +/- 12 years) was determined using biochemical and anthropometric measurements. Overall, the incidence of some degree of malnutrition was 59%. Seventeen of the patients were found to have pressure sores and were all malnourished. When classified as mild, moderate, or severe malnutrition, the patients with pressure sores were in the severe group. There was a significant difference (P less than .001) between the nutritional status of pressure sore patients and the malnourished patients. It appears that the development of pressure sores correlates with nutritional deficiencies. The authors' findings suggest a need for more aggressive nutritional support in the elderly, especially those with pressure sores.