Nutritional risk in inner-city-dwelling older black Americans

Douglas K. Miller, Myrtle E. Carter, Robert H. Sigmund, John Q. Smith, J. Philip Miller, Judy A. Bentley, Kim McDonald, Rodney M. Coe, John E. Morley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To define the degree of nutritional risk in older inner- city black Americans and to identify important underlying factors associated with high nutritional risk. DESIGN: Cross-sectional descriptive study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: A population-based sample of 400 noninstitutionalized persons older than 69 years of age in north St. Louis (NSL), Missouri, and a community-based sample of 115 residents aged 50 years and older living in public housing in East St. Louis (ESL), Illinois. Both study areas have high levels of poverty. MEASUREMENTS: Nutritional risk was measured using the Nutrition Screening Initiative Checklist. Demographic information, economic status, self-rated health, Geriatric Depression Scale score, and body mass index were assessed using established standardized instruments. MAIN RESULTS: Forty-eight percent of NSL and 66% of ESL subjects scored high on the Checklist. Compared with a mostly white (96%) comparison group from New England, both samples demonstrated particularly high prevalence for limited intake of fruits, vegetables, and milk; tooth and mouth problems; lack of money for food; eating alone; polypharmacy; and inability to shop, cook or feed on their own. High levels of depressive symptoms, fair or poor self-rated health, perceived inadequacy of income, and low income levels were associated with high risk, but even those subjects with no or few such predisposing factors were still high on the Checklist score compared with the New England sample. CONCLUSIONS: If confirmed, these results indicate that inner-city-dwelling older black Americans are at high nutritional risk. Attempts to reduce their nutritional risk should focus on improving nutritional content of their diet, oral health, polypharmacy, depressive symptoms, and poor general health; offering group meals; and providing assistance with shopping and cooking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-962
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume44
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1996

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