Tese: The relationship between health self-perception, food consumption and nutritional status among Portuguese older adults.

Tese de Mestrado de Ana Margarida Moniz Babo, Inquiridora no Projeto PRONUTRISENIOR.

"In Portugal, as in the European Union, people aged 65 and above will be the populational group with the highest growth rate of the next decades. Since healthy ageing constitutes a challenge, the relationship between health self-perception (HSP), food consumption and nutritional status will allow an understanding of which factors influence and determine the perception of health among older adults. This study uses data from the Pronutrisenior project. A total of 459 older adults (age 65 and above) were assessed regarding: Socio-demographic characteristics; Family and social network; HSP; Activities of Daily Living (ADL); Clinical characterisation, 24-hour recall and food habits; Nutritional status was evaluated by the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), Satisfaction with Food-Related Life Scale (SWFoL) and anthropometry. Almost half of the respondents had a positive HSP, that was higher in men (Mdn=4) than women (Mdn=3, p =0.003. MNA showed that 1,1% were malnourished, and 25,9% were at risk of malnutrition. The food habits of older adults have shown that only 8,5% did three full meals per day and the sample was classified as overweight. The most significant predictor of HSP was nutritional status, but independence in shopping had the largest impact on how they compared to other people of the same age. Interventions need to focus on factors like nutritional status, independency on ADL, SWFoL, medication and utilize them to modify the negative HSP and attitudes towards ageing and health. These changes may facilitate, not only a successful adaptation to the ageing process but also maximize the positive aspects of old age."