SERUM BIOMARKERS ASSOCIATED WITH MALNUTRITION AND NUTRITIONAL RISK IN ELDERLY PRIMARY CARE PATIENTS: A CROSSSECTIONAL STUDY FROM BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Background: The aim of the study was to determine the ability of ferritin, haemoglobin, albumin and total cholesterol to identify nutritional risk and malnutrition among elderly primary care patients. Methods: The cross-sectional study included 446 elderly adults over 65 years of age from four areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to anthropometric, functional, cognitive and biochemical indicators, nutritional status was evaluated using 24-hour recall of meals, the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), and Seniors in the Community: Risk Evaluation for Eating and Nutrition, Version II (SCREEN II). Results: Malnourished/at-risk study respondents had lower mean levels of haemoglobin (P=0.001) and total cholesterol (P<0.001), compared to those with normal nutritional status. Albumin levels significantly differed regarding nutritional status (P=0.004), but not nutritional risk level (P=0.521). Significant differences in serum ferritin levels were not found between malnourished and normally nourished study respondents (P=0.779) Determinants of albumin level were eating more than three meals a day (P<0.001), fewer than two portions of fruit and vegetables a day (P=0.024), drinking one glass of wine (P<0.001) and reporting functional independence (P=0.011). The AUC curves for serum ferritin, albumin and total cholesterol levels in men and women, as well as for haemoglobin levels in women, were poor to fair (AUC<0.800). Conclusion: Although ferritin, haemoglobin, albumin and total cholesterol may be useful biomarkers of nutritional status, their accuracy in diagnosing malnutrition and nutritional risk among elderly primary health care patients is limited.
elderly patients, biomarkers, malnutrition, nutritional status