Osteoarthritis: Is more attention to nutritional health required?



Abstract:Objective: To describe the nutritional health of a sample of older adults with osteoarthritis, and to determine whether the sample had received or were interested in formal nutrition advice. Design: Descriptive cross-sectional study. Participants completed the Australian Nutrition Screening Initiative (ANSI) tool. Body weight and knee height were measured and a questionnaire, consisting of three questions on procurement of food, interest in and access to nutrition resources, was completed. Subjects: One hundred and five participants aged 50 years and above with osteoarthritis who were assessed as suitable to commence an exercise program within the Repatriation General Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia. Setting: Participants were recruited from outpatient clinics, surgical waiting lists and from the community. Main outcome measures: Body mass index (BMI), nutritional risk assessed with ANSI tool, previous nutrition counselling, interest in nutrition advice. Statistical analysis: Descriptive statistics were used to summarise the data. Results: The mean BMI of the sample was 30.9 ± 5.2 kg/m². Of the total sample, 55 (52.9%) of the participants were defined as obese. Using the ANSI checklist, 45 (42.9%) subjects were assessed as being at high nutritional risk. Only eight (7.6%) subjects had received formal nutrition advice regarding their osteoarthritis, while 83 (79%) expressed an interest in receiving such advice. Conclusion: Patients with osteoarthritis may be at risk of poor nutritional health despite being overweight or obese. There is presently no specialised dietetic service for this patient group in our setting and medical referral patterns to dietetics do not reflect the dietetic needs of this group of patients.

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