Consuming two additional serves of dairy food a day significantly improves energy and nutrient intakes in ambulatory aged care residents: A feasibility study

Sandra Iuliano, J. Woods, John A Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objetives: Low-level aged-care residents are at risk of malnutrition. Oral supplements and fortified foods used to treat malnutrition in the elderly require special preparation and administration by staff. Therefore we aimed to determine if increasing dairy food intake in residents by two serves per day would improve energy and nutrient intakes and prevent malnutrition in residents. Design: Prospective intervention study. Setting: 2 intervention and 2 control low-level aged-care facilities in Melbourne, Australia. Participants: 130 residents (n = 68 intervention, 78% female, mean age 86.5 years). Intervention: This feasibility study was a 4-week intervention where menus were modified to include at least two additional serves of dairy food/day. Control facilities consumed from their regular menus. Measurements: Mean macro- and micro-nutrient intakes before and after intervention and over the same time period in controls were recorded using observed intake (food served minus waste) and changes over time determined using paired t-tests. Comparison in proportion of residents meeting nutritional requirements was determined using Chi-square distribution test. Results: Following intervention, daily increases in mean energy intake (900kJ, P<0.001), protein intake (+25g, P<0.0001), proportion of energy from protein (+4%, P<0.0001) and proportion of estimated energy requirements (EER) (+18%, P<0.0001) were observed, while proportion of energy from fat decreased (-3%, P<0.0001). In controls mean energy intake remained below the EER, and protein intake remained unchanged. Increases in mean daily micronutrient intakes were observed for numerous nutrients including calcium (+679mg, P<0.0001), vitamin D (+1.4μg, P<0.0001), phosphorus (+550mg, P<0.0001), and zinc (+2.8mg, P<0.0001), which remained unchanged in control residents. Calcium and zinc intakes achieved recommended intake levels on the higher dairy diet, but were below recommended levels in controls. Mean sodium intakes remained unchanged. During intervention a greater proportion of residents achieved the EER for energy and the RDI for protein and calcium compared to controls. Conclusion: Two additional serves of dairy food can significantly improve nutrient intake in aged-care residents and its ease of provision makes it a viable option to potentially prevent malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-513
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged-care
  • calcium
  • dairy foods
  • energy intake
  • malnutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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