A Brief Intervention for Malnutrition among Older Adults: Stepping Up Your Nutrition

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 May 20;17(10):3590. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17103590.


Despite a multitude of nutritional risk factors among older adults, there is a lack of community-based programs and activities that screen for malnutrition and address modifiable risk among this vulnerable population. Given the known association of protein and fluid consumption with fall-related risk among older adults and the high prevalence of falls among Americans age 65 years and older each year, a brief intervention was created. Stepping Up Your Nutrition (SUYN) is a 2.5 h workshop developed through a public/private partnership to motivate older adults to reduce their malnutrition risk. The purposes of this naturalistic workshop dissemination were to: (1) describe the SUYN brief intervention; (2) identify participant characteristics associated with malnutrition risk; and (3) identify participant characteristics associated with subsequent participation in Stepping On (SO), an evidence-based fall prevention program. Data were analyzed from 429 SUYN participants, of which 38% (n = 163) subsequently attended SO. As measured by the SCREEN II®, high and moderate malnutrition risk scores were reported among approximately 71% and 20% of SUYN participants, respectively. Of the SUYN participants with high malnutrition risk, a significantly larger proportion attended a subsequent SO workshop (79.1%) compared to SUYN participants who did not proceed to SO (65.8%) (χ2 = 8.73, p = 0.013). Findings suggest SUYN may help to identify malnutrition risk among community-dwelling older adults and link them to needed services like evidence-based programs. Efforts are needed to expand the delivery infrastructure of SUYN to reach more at-risk older adults.

Keywords: fall prevention; falls; intervention; malnutrition; nutrition risk; older adults.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Aged
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male
  • Malnutrition* / therapy
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Risk