Objective This study investigated the relationship between depression, nutritional risk and dietary intake in a population of older caregivers.
Design Mailed questionnaire with sub group participating in a home-based interview.
Participants and setting Seventy-six community dwelling caregivers aged 50 y or over from Victoria, Australia. Measurements Questionnaires provided information on weight, height, hours of care, depressive symptoms, nutritional risk and appetite. The home-based interview assessed dietary intake and shopping, cooking and meal consumption habits. Results The sample had a mean±SD age of 70.3±12.8 y, BMI of 27.2±4.8 kg/m2 and the time spent caring was 101.8±68.1 h/wk. Overall, 32% of caregivers had depressive symptoms, 21% were at risk of malnutrition and 21% reported their appetite was fair/bad/very bad. Caregivers with depressive symptoms (32%) compared to those with no depressive symptoms (53%) had a poorer appetite (p<0.05). Of the 20 caregivers who participated in the home interview, 25% reported they ate their meals alone. Conclusion A significant proportion of community dwelling older caregivers had depressive symptoms, were at risk of malnutrition and had poor appetites, although the majority were overweight or obese.
Field of Research
111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified