Nutritional status, physical performance and functional capacity in an elderly population in southern Brazil

Estado nutricional, desempenho físico e capacidade funcional de uma população de idosos do sul do Brasil

Ana Lúcia Danielewicz Aline Rodrigues Barbosa Giovâni Firpo Del Duca About the authors


to investigate the association between nutritional status and functional limitation and disability in an elderly population in southern Brazil.


epidemiological, cross-sectional household-based study carried out with 477 elderly of both sexes (60 to 100 years). Body mass index (BMI) served to assess the nutritional status: underweight (BMI < 22 kg/m2) and overweight (BMI > 27 kg/m2). The sum score (0-5) obtained in three tests: "chair stand" and "pick up a pen" (measured by time) and standing balance (four static measurements) assessed the functional limitation. The disability was evaluated by the difficulty in performing one or more self-reported tasks related to basic activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). Crude and adjusted analyzes (3 models) were carried out using Poisson regression; prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.


crude analyzes showed a positive association between underweight and functional limitation (PR = 2.71, 95% CI = 1.63 to 4.51); overweight and disability in ADLs (PR = 2.20, CI 95% = 1.44 to 3.35); overweight and disability in IADLs (PR = 1.56, CI 95% = 1.20 to 2.03). The additional adjustments for gender, age, level of education, living arrangements, current work, cognitive function and number of morbidities reduced the strength of the associations, without changing the statistical strength.


nutritional status is a factor that is independently and positively associated with functional limitation and disability. We recommend the use of this indicator to monitor the health of the elderly.

aging; nutritional status; activities of daily living; mobility limitation

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