Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Department name when degree awarded

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Georgia C. Lauritzen


Georgia C. Lauritzen


Carol T. Windham


The population of Americans over age 65 is expected to increase from a reported 12 percent in 1988 to 22 percent by the year 2030. Nutrition screening and intervention can help combat the rising need for health care and other services among the elderly by preventing or delaying disability and dependency.

This study was designed to determine the degree of nutritional risk present within the elderly population in rural and urban areas in the state of Utah by conducting an initial nutrition screening using the Determine Your Nutritional Health checklist developed by the Nutrition Screening Initiative. Congregate meal sites were stratified according to urbanization and fifteen centers were selected from both rural and urban counties. Congregate meal participants present at the site completed a Determine Your Nutritional Health checklist and survey asking additional demographic data including age, sex, marital status, living situation, frequency of participation in congregate meals, and if they had previously used the checklist.

A total of 838 valid surveys was collected from 29 congregate meal sites throughout the state of Utah. Fifty-seven percent of participants scored in the "good nutritional health" category, 27.7 percent were at moderate nutrition risk, and 15.4 percent scored in the high nutrition risk category.

Nutrition risk category was significantly associated with gender, marital status, and cohabitation status. Women, unmarrieds, and individuals living alone scored more frequently in a higher nutrition risk category.

Results of this study reflect influences on nutrition risk found in a sample of congregate meal participants in the state of Utah. These results can help the state of Utah identify the common risk factors within this segment of its population, i.e. gender, marital status, cohabitation status, acute/chronic disease, eating alone, and polypharmacy, to plan education and/or intervention for individuals who are at risk.