Depression, nutritional risk and eating behaviour in older caregivers

June 2010
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging;Jun2010, Vol. 14 Issue 6, p442
Academic Journal
This study investigated the relationship between depression, nutritional risk and dietary intake in a population of older caregivers. Mailed questionnaire with sub group participating in a home-based interview. Seventy-six community dwelling caregivers aged 50 y or over from Victoria, Australia. Questionnaires provided information on weight, height, hours of care, depressive symptoms, nutritional risk and appetite. The home-based interview assessed dietary intake and shopping, cooking and meal consumption habits. The sample had a mean±SD age of 70.3±12.8 y, BMI of 27.2±4.8 kg/m2 and the time spent caring was 101.8±68.1 h/wk. Overall, 32% of caregivers had depressive symptoms, 21% were at risk of malnutrition and 21% reported their appetite was fair/bad/very bad. Caregivers with depressive symptoms (32%) compared to those with no depressive symptoms (53%) had a poorer appetite (p<0.05). Of the 20 caregivers who participated in the home interview, 25% reported they ate their meals alone. A significant proportion of community dwelling older caregivers had depressive symptoms, were at risk of malnutrition and had poor appetites, although the majority were overweight or obese.


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