Meals on Wheels SA Nutrition Research
12 November 2013 at 9:26 am
Meals on Wheels SA (MoWSA) has embarked on what it describes as a groundbreaking research study into nutrition for older South Australians with the preliminary results already showing some positive outcomes.
The Not for Profit says the main aim of the research is to discover how effectively Meals on Wheels assists older South Australians to achieve dietary targets and improve their nutritional health and wellbeing.
“It comes at a time where obesity remains a primary public health concern yet the issue of malnourishment and under-nutrition continues to be overlooked,” MoWSA Chief Executive Officer Sharyn Broer said.
The study is comparing the health outcome of clients aged over 70 receiving standard Meals on Wheels meals, versus a meal with additional protein and energy.
These results will be compared with a group of older people who do not use Meals on Wheels’ services.
It seeks to find, over a 12-week period, whether undernourished older people receiving Meals on Wheels meals that are fortified with extra energy and protein, achieve their estimated energy and protein requirements more readily than people receiving standard meals, or no meals.
The ongoing study is being conducted in collaboration between MoWSA, the University of Adelaide, Flinders University and CSIRO Animal, Food and Health Sciences. It’s expected to be completed in six months.
Research Scientist Dr Natalie Luscombe-Marsh, CSIRO and University of Adelaide affiliate, said early indicators of the research were positive.
“Preliminary findings show that Meals on Wheels is helping older people reach their nutrition requirements,” she said.
“After 12 weeks of intervention we have found that the provision of Meals on Wheels to undernourished, older people improves total energy and protein intakes, particularly for high protein and high energy meals.
“We’ve also found a general improvement in the body weight amongst participants.”
Dr Luscombe-Marsh is currently calling on more people aged over 70 to be involved in this research, whether they use Meals on Wheels or not. The study is confidential and at no cost to participants.
“By taking part in the study you’ll be contributing to worthwhile research designed to counteract a growing public health concern, while also assisting yourself and your friends in the community,” she said.
For more information on this report, contact Research Scientist Dr Natalie Luscombe-Marsh, at natalie.luscombe-marsh@csiro.