Dietary intake of elderly outpatients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is often associated with malnutrition, which is in turn associated with poor outcomes. Accordingly, in COPD patients adequate nutrition might improve several clinical and functional outcomes. Nevertheless, information about nutrient intake of older populations with COPD is still scanty. The team analysed data of 523 elderly attending a geriatric ambulatory. Of these, 165 had a diagnosis of COPD, while 358 were control participants, matched for demographic characteristics and free from respiratory diseases. COPD was diagnosed according to the global initiative for chronic obstructive lung disease (GOLD) criteria. The intake of micro and macronutrients was recorded using the European prospective investigation into cancer and nutrition (EPIC) questionnaire. Nutrient intake of COPD patients was compared with that of the control group and with recommended dietary allowances RDA. COPD patients had a lower energy intake, as compared with control participants (29.4 vs 34.4kcal/kg of ideal weight; P<.0001), due to reduced intake of carbohydrates and proteins. Accordingly, in the energy intake was lower than recommended in 52% of COPD patients, vs 30% of controls (P<.0001). The intake of calcium, potassium, folate, cholecalciferol, retinol, and thiamine was lower than RDA in over 75% of COPD patients.

The diet of elderly COPD outpatients does not provide the recommended energy intake, nor does it meet the RDA for many micronutrients. Such deficits are more severe than in age matched non- respiratory subjects.