J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2020 Apr;24(1):28-36.

Associations between Nutritional Risk and Mental Health in an Elderly Korean Population

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Busan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Haegwang Hospital, Gimhae, Korea
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Dong-A University Hospital, Busan, Korea
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Sharing and Happiness Hospital, Busan, Korea


:Older adults are at greater risk for malnutrition than younger adults, and malnutrition can be associated with a variety of mental problems. This study was undertaken to investigate differences in mental health indicators according to nutritional risk administered to elderly people living in the community.
:Nutritional risk score was assessed using the ‘Determine Your Nutrition Health’ checklist, developed by the Nutritional Screening Initiative. The study enrolled 400 elderly people living in the community. Study subjects were divided into 3 groups based on their nutritional risk score: good nutrition (score ≤2; n=275), moderate nutritional risk (score 3-5; n=63), and high nutritional risk (score ≥6; n=62). The General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12), suicide risk screening tool, memory decline awareness, sleep disorder questionnaire, and health-related quality of life (EuroQoL-5 dimension, EQ-5D) were used to assess mental health problems. Statistical analyses were performed using chi-square test, analysis of variance, and Pearson correlation analysis.
:In the high nutrition risk group, GHQ-12 score was highest. In the good nutrition group, subjective memory impairment score and sleep difficulty were lowest, and EQ-5D index was highest. The risk of suicide tended to increase with increasing nutritional risk. Nutritional risk score was significantly correlated with GHQ-12, subjective memory impairment, sleep latency time, total sleep duration, sleep difficulty, and EQ-5D index.
:This study confirms that nutritional risk in the elderly is related to various psychological symptoms and low quality of life. High nutritional risk in the elderly warrants clinical attention to mental health and quality of life.


Health services for the aged; Patient health questionnaire; Malnutrition; Nutritional status
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