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Open Access Research

Relationship between anthropometric variables and nutrient intake in apparently healthy male elderly individuals: A study from Pakistan

Iftikhar Alam12*, Anis Larbi3, Graham Pawelec1 and Parvez I Paracha4

Author affiliations

1 Tübingen Aging and Tumour Immunology group, Sektion für Transplantationsimmunologie und Immunohämatologie, University of Tübingen, Zentrum für MedizinischeForschung, Waldhörnlestraße 22, 72072 Tübingen, Germany

2 Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Department of Agriculture, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Previously: NWFP), Pakistan

3 Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), 8A Biomedical Grove, IMMUNOS Bd.03, Biopolis, A*STAR, 138648, Singapore

4 Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences, NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Previously: NWFP), 25000, Pakistan

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:111  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-111

Published: 12 October 2011

Abstract

Background

The elderly population is increasing worldwide, which warrants their nutritional status assessment more important. The present study was undertaken to establish the nutritional status of the least-studied elderly population in Pakistan.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional study with a sample of 526 generally healthy free-living elderly men (mean age: 68.9 yr; range: 50-98 yr) from Peshawar, Pakistan. Anthropometric measurements (weight, height, WC) were measured and BMI and WHR were calculated from these measurements following WHO standard procedures. Dietary intake was assessed by 24-hr dietary recall. Nutrients were calculated from the information on food intake. Nutrients in terms of % of RNI were calculated using WHO data on recommended intakes.

Results

Based on BMI, the numbers of obese, overweight and underweight elderly were 13.1, 3.1 and 10.8%, respectively. Age was negatively and significantly correlated with BMI (p = 0.0028). Energy (p = 0.0564) and protein intake (p = 0.0776) tended to decrease with age. There was a significant increase in % BF with age (p = <0.0001). The normal weight elderly had significantly (p < 0.05) higher intake of all nutrients studied, except energy which was significantly (p < 0.05) higher in obese and overweight elderly. Overall, however, the majority of subjects had lower than adequate nutrient intake (67.3 - 100% of recommendation).

Conclusions

Malnutrition is common in apparently healthy elderly Pakistani men. Very few elderly have adequate nutrient intake. Obese and overweight had higher % BF as compared to normal weight elderly. Older age is associated with changes not only in anthropometrics and body composition but also in intake of key nutrients like energy and protein.