Effects of anorexia on mortality among older adults receiving home care: An observational study

Francesco Landi, R. Liperoti, F. Lattanzio, A. Russo, M. Tosato, C. Barillaro, R. Bernabei, G. Onder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We describe the prevalence of secondary anorexia in a population of older people living in community and receiving home care. In addition, we examined the relationship between secondary anorexia and mortality. Methods: We analyzed data from a large collaborative observational study group, the Italian Silver Network Home Care project, that collected data on patients admitted to home care programs. A total of twelve Home Health Agencies participated in such project evaluating the implementation of the Minimum Data Set for Home Care (MDS-HC) instrument. A total of 2757 patients were enrolled in the present study. The main outcome measures were the prevalence of anorexia, weight loss and survival. Results: More than 25% (744 subjects) of the study sample suffered from anorexia. During a mean follow-up of 10 months from initial MDSHC assessment, 468 patients (17%) died. There was uneven distribution of the risk. After adjusting for age, gender and for all other possible risk factors for death (living alone, physical and cognitive disability, behavior problems, urinary incontinence, pressure ulcer, hearing impairment, congestive heart failure, hypertension, depression, diabetes, renal failure, cancer), subjects with anorexia were more likely to die relative to patients without anorexia (RR, 1.83; 95% CI 1.45-2.31). Even though the risk of mortality was higher among subjects suffering from anorexia and weight loss, the anorexia per se was associated with higher risk compared with subjects without anorexia (RR, 1.45; 95% CI 1.01-2.19). Conclusions: Anorexia is associated with a significant higher risk of all-cause mortality. The present findings support the possibility that anorexia has an independent effect on survival even among old people receiving home care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Anorexia
  • elderly
  • geriatric assessment
  • home care
  • MDS
  • mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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