To provide an updated perspective of how nutritional screening and assessment in older persons should be performed and reasonably implemented in the near future.
Although nutritional screening and assessment should be fast and easy procedures, there is increasing evidence that more time should be dedicated to them. This is probably an answer to the claim to a medicine being more preventive than curative. Increasing interest is currently given to healthy aging and nutritional status is more likely to be addressed for its implications on functional status and disability. Important prognostic conditions, such as frailty, sarcopenia, and cachexia, which are closely linked to the nutritional domain, are at the top of the agenda. Therefore, body composition is a key issue and functional status is suggested as primary endpoint of nutrition trials. In this scenario, there is also a rationale for systematic assessment of inflammation, protein intake, and vitamin D status as potential contributing factors to reduced muscle mass and function.
A ‘second-generation’ multidimensional nutritional screening and assessment including the evaluation of body composition, frailty, sarcopenia, and cachexia could be hypothesized. Nutritional assessment should be also completed by the systematic evaluation of inflammation, protein intake, and vitamin D status.
aNutrition and Dietetics Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Pavia
bNational Research Council, Neuroscience Institute, Aging Branch
cInstitute of Clinical Research and Education in Medicine, Padova, Italy
Correspondence to Emanuele Cereda, Nutrition and Dietetics Service, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Viale Golgi 19, Pavia 27100, Italy. Tel: +39 0382 501615; fax: + 39 0382 502801; e-mail: email@example.com