Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Roy E. Beauchene

Committee Members

Mary Jo Hitchcock, Mary Nelle Traylor, Rossie L. Mason


The purposes of this study were to evaluate the nutritional status of elderly institutionalized women as indicated by nutrient intakes, blood levels of selected constituents, and bone density measurements; and to study the correlations that exist between these parameters.

Participants resided at Eastern State Psychiatric Hospital. Permission for participation was obtained by signed consent of the subject and her legal guardian. Complete dietary information (7- day records of weighed food consumption) was obtained for 67 participants. Physical measurements (height, weight, and bone density) and blood samples were obtained for 54 and 52 of the subjects, respectively.

Daily nutrient intakes from meals and snacks were calculated by computer, using the food values of USDA Handbook No. 8, and were compared to the RDA. Bone density values of the phalanx 5-2 were determined, using the direct scan technique. Blood values of hemoglobin, plasma ascorbic acid, serum total protein, and serum albumin were obtained by standard laboratory procedures.

The mean daily nutrients served at meals exceeded 100% of the RDA. However, less than two-thirds of the nutrients served at meals, except for calcium, were consumed. Mean daily nutrient intakes from all sources (meals, snacks, and supplements) exceeded the RDA, except for energy, protein, and calcium, which supplied 87%, 98%, and 87% of the RDA, respectively. However, from food consumed at meals and snacks, only the mean intakes of phosphorus and niacin equivalents met the RDA and mean intakes of vitamin A and ascorbic acid from food were less than two-thirds of the RDA. Intakes of all nutrients, except calcium and ascorbic acid, significantly decreased with age. Twenty-two percent of the subjects received some type of prescribed multi-vitamin supplement and 6% received an iron supplement.

Mean values of hemoglobin, serum total protein and albumin, and plasma ascorbic acid were acceptable or high according to the ICNND criteria. Significant correlations were found between ascorbic acid intakes and plasma ascorbic acid, and between protein intakes and serum albumin and hemoglobin concentration. No significant correlation was found between protein intake and serum total protein or between iron intake and hemoglobin.

The mean bone density value was 0.81± 0.03 gram equivalents of alloy per cubic centimeter of bone, with a range of values from 0.04 to 1.41. A significant correlation was obtained between bone density and daily intakes of energy, protein, phosphorus, vitamin A, and ascorbic acid from food, but not with intakes of calcium nor with vitamin A and ascorbic acid if supplements of the latter two nutrients were included. Bone density was significantly correlated with serum albumin, but not with blood levels of hemoglobin, ascorbic acid, and total protein. Values of bone density significantly decreased with age, and significantly increased with height and with weight. The weight distribution of the subjects appeared to be quite normal for women of this age group.

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