Risk factors for malnutrition in older adults: a systematic review

Rita Pacheco*, Rosa Silva, Tânia Costa, Armando Almeida, João Amado

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



Introduction: Population ageing is a worldwide phenomenon that puts the organism through several anatomical, functional, biochemical and psychological changes with repercussions on health conditions. Malnutrition is described by several authors as a common condition in older adults. In this sense, knowing the factors that contribute to malnutrition i s an important information for health professionals who care for the older adults on their daily lives. Objective: To identify the risk factors that contribute to malnutrition in the elderly. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was developed according to the methodology of the Joanna Briggs Institute. Studies with focus on the risk factors were searched for, with people aged ≥ 60 years old living in any setting. The critical analysis, extraction and synthesis of the results were developed by two independent researchers. Results: A total of 13 articles were included, with a total of 21568 elderly people and a predominance of women (59.6%). Of the total sample, 2349 (10.9%) were identified as being at risk of malnutrition and 7796 (36.1%) as mal nourished. The factors that contribute to malnutrition are several, including age, depression, cognitive deterioration, socioeconomic level, education and institutionalization. Conclusions: In this context, the need for a multidimensional and multidisciplinary intervention that responds to the health condition of the elderly is reinforced.

Translated title of the contribution Fatores de risco de desnutrição na pessoa idosa : uma revisão sistemática
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalMillenium: Journal of Education, Technologies, and Health
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2020


  • Aged
  • Malnutrition
  • Risk factors
  • Systematic review


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