Paper Type

Master's Thesis


Brooks College of Health

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Science: Nutrition (MSH)


Nutrition & Dietetics

First Advisor

Dr. Judith C. Rodriguez

Second Advisor

Dr. Chudley E. Werch


This study examined associations among the nutritional risks, the risk levels, and the ages of independently living elderly. The Checklist of the Nutrition Screening Initiative (NSI) was administered to a purposive sample of 1004 Northeast Florida elderly to estimate an age-profile at risk for malnutrition. Checklist nutritional scores (cumulative of ten risks) were grouped into risk levels of low (scores 0-2, 64.3%), moderate (3-5, 29.5%), and high (6 and greater, 24.2%). Within each level, Checklists were grouped by respondents' age into young-old (60-74), old-old (75-79), and fragile-old (80-102). Eight nutritional risks' distribution across risk levels was significantly greater in respondents of the high-risk level as compared to those in the moderate and low-risk levels. A significant difference was found in the distribution of age groups across levels (x2=9.742, df=4, P=.045), with a larger proportion of the fragile-old in the low risk level (53.6%) than either the old-old (42.5%) or the young-old (43.6%). Elderly at greatest risk for malnutrition are aged 74-75 years and report illness, multiple medicines, economic hardship, and reduced social contact. The distribution of the risk "multiple medicines" (x2=12.17, df=4, P=.016) was consistently significant across all risk levels and age groups.