Mal J Nutr 22(3): 351 -361, 2016

Nutritional, Physical and Cognitive Status among Pre-Frail and Frail Malaysian Older Adults
Badrasawi M,1, 2 Suzana S1, Zahara AM1 & Devinder KAS3


Introduction: Frailty is related to physical function, nutritional status, and cognition; however, these factors are rarely investigated comprehensively in a single study. Thus, this study aimed to examine the differences in nutritional, physical and cognitive function among frail, pre-frail and robust Malaysian elderly.
Methods: A total of 473 participants were randomly selected from ten different areas in Klang Valley by multistage random sampling. Frailty was characterised using the Fried criteria. Anthropometric measurements, diet intake, body composition, and physical and cognitive function were assessed. Kruskal Wallis test was employed to examine the relationship between the independent variables and frailty.
Results: Frail subjects had significant higher body mass index (26.8±4.4kg/m2) compared to pre-frail (25.7±4.4 kg/m2) and robust (24.9±3.9kg/m2), (p<0.05). The same trend was found in waist circumference, an indicator for abdominal obesity. On the other hand, calf circumference, fat free mass, and basal metabolic rate (BMR) were lower in frail subjects (p<0.05 for all parameters). In fact, calf circumference in frail, pre-frail and robust groups were 34.6±3.6 cm, 34.5±3.6 cm and 35.6±5 cm, respectively (p<0.05). Frail subjects had the highest hours of overnight fasting and percent of energy intake and the poorest physical and cognitive performance compared to the other groups (p<0.05 for all parameters)
Conclusion: Frail subjects are being categorised as obese with high fat intake but had muscle wasting and longer overnight fasting, together with known poor physical function and cognitive status. There is a need to strategically prevent frailty through a comprehensive diet, physical function and cognitive training.

Keywords: Frailty, nutritional status, physical functions, cognitive function, elderly

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