Arthritis and Functional Impairment Compound Nutritional Risk in Older Adults: Findings from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging

AdultsOlder AdultsNutritionChronic disease
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Evidence suggests that people with arthritis (PWA) are vulnerable to nutritional problems. The role of functional impairment (FI) in this susceptibility is understudied. Nutritional risk (NR) screening facilitates the early detection of poor nutritional status. This study sought to investigate the cross-sectional association between NR and arthritis and to determine whether FI modified that association. Data were from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), a nationally representative survey of community-dwelling Canadian adults. Arthritis was self-reported, NR was determined with the abbreviated Seniors in the Community: Risk Evaluating for Eating and Nutrition II (SCREEN II-AB) questionnaire, and functional status was measured with the Older American Resources and Services scale. We assessed the association between (1) arthritis and continuous NR score (final SCREEN II-AB score), and (2) arthritis with the odds of high NR status according to SCREEN II-AB's pre-established cut-off value, using multiple linear and logistic regressions respectively. Analyses were adjusted for demographic characteristics (age, sex, income, education, number of people in the household), any FI, and health (body mass index, self-rated general and mental health). Additional analyses stratified the models by FI. In total, 41153 respondents were included in this study (Male:49.7 , Mean age:59.2). PWA had lower NR scores (B:-0.36, SE:0.07, p<0.001) and were 12 more likely to have high NR status (95 CI:1.06-1.17 p<0.001). The likelihood of experiencing high NR status were 31 (95 CI:1.12-1.54, p=0.0008) and 10 higher (95 CI:1.04-1.16 p=0.0006) in PWA, with and without FI respectively. Arthritis is associated with high NR in community-dwelling adults over the age of 45 years, both with and without FI. These findings highlight the need for further research on these relationships to inform interventions and improve clinical practices. 


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