Background/objectives: Malnutrition is common among older adults. Dietary intervention studies in older adults aiming to improve anthropometrics measures and physical function have been inconsistent. We aimed to investigate the effects of nutrition therapy in combination with home delivered meals and oral nutritional supplements (ONS) in community-dwelling older adults discharged from hospital.
Methods: A total of 106 participants (>65 years) were randomized into the intervention group (n = 53) and into the control group (n = 53). The intervention group received individual nutrition therapy (five in person visits and three phone calls) and freely delivered energy- and protein- rich foods, while the control group received standard care. Dietary intake, anthropometrics, and short physical performance battery (SPPB) were assessed at baseline and at endpoint.
Results: Energy intake at baseline was similar in both groups (~1500 kcal at the hospital) but there was a significant increase in energy intake and body weight in the intervention group (+919 kcal/day and 1.7 kg, P < 0.001 in both cases) during the study period, compared to a significant decrease in both measures among controls (-815 kcal/day and -3.5 kg, P < 0.001 in both cases). SPPB score increased significantly in the intervention group while no changes were observed among controls.
Conclusions: Most Icelandic older adults experience substantial weight loss after hospital discharge when receiving current standard care. However, a 6-month multi-component nutrition therapy, provided by a clinical nutritionist in combination with freely delivered supplemental energy- and protein-dense foods has beneficial effects on body weight, physical function, and nutritional status.
Study registration: This study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov ( NCT03995303 ).