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Meal patterns and meal quality in patients with leg ulcers

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Wound healing is a complex process, which requires adequate energy sources, proteins, and specific minerals and vitamins. If an individual is unable to get or to eat the nutrients required, the wound healing process might be disrupted. The aim of this study was to investigate food-related factors, meal patterns and meal quality in relation to nutritional status in elderly out-patients with leg ulcers. Methods

Nutritional status was assessed by use of the Mini Nutritional Assessment in 70 patients living in their own homes. Fifty-six of the patients recorded actual meals and snacks over four consecutive days. Meal patterns and meal quality were evaluated with the help of a qualitative classification system, the Food Based Concept for Classification of Eating Episodes. Results

Thirty-six patients were classified as well-nourished, 32 were at risk of malnutrition and two were malnourished. More patients in the risk group for malnutrition did not buy their own food, and usually ate alone. Incomplete Meals and Low Quality Snacks were the most common eating types. The patients at risk of malnutrition had significantly fewer prepared Complete Meals than the well-nourished patients. Conclusion

The results show a diet and meal quality which hardly meets the requirements for nutrients that are important in wound healing, especially for those patients assessed at risk of malnutrition.

Keywords: elderly; leg ulcer; meal patterns; meal quality; nutrition; out-patients

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-277x.2000.00207.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Medicine and Care, Division of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden; 2: Department of Medical Sciences, Nutrition Unit, Uppsala University, Sweden

Publication date: February 1, 2000

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