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Meal satisfaction influences rates of malnutrition among older adults

Lee K, Mo J. The factors influencing meal satisfaction in older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis Asian Nursing Research. 2019; 13(3): 169-176.

Review question

      What are the factors related to meal satisfaction among older adults?


      Meals are essential for maintaining life. Through eating, human beings not only maintain, promote, and restore their health, but also recall the past.

      For older adults, eating is not only an important activity for life maintenance but also a great pleasure. Meal satisfaction is thus associated with increased the quality of life.

      Unfortunately, many older adults face insufficient nutrition owing to sensory and dental problems. Physical weakness, degenerative diseases, and dietary changes as well as poor systematic management are other common causes of malnutrition in the aging process.

      Developing food options with meal satisfaction in mind may thus serve to quell concerns with both malnutrition and quality of life among older adults.

      The aim of this systematic review is to investigate the factors related to meal satisfaction in older adults.

How the review was done

      Review authors conducted a detailed search of three research databases in March of 2018.

      Key search terms included meal, food, eating, feeding, and satisfaction.

      A total of 1695 articles were retrieved from the initial search, of which seven were included in this review.

      This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning. No conflicts of interest were declared.

What the researchers found

      A meta-analysis was conducted to determine the factors influencing meal satisfaction in older adults ≥ 60 years old.

      The results showed that poor meal satisfaction was associated with increasing age and the serving of frozen meals.

      Satisfaction with meals was high when food choices were available, when individuals were served high-quality food, when the food smelled and tasted good, or when meals were personally tailored for each person.

      Satisfaction was also high when individuals ate with their families.

      Interestingly, although meal satisfaction seemed to influence physical health, a significant correlation with mental health was not seen.


      In conclusion, this review found a myriad of factors that may influence meal satisfaction among older adults.

      The findings of this systematic review can be used as basic data for concept analysis and for developing tools to measure meal satisfaction in older adults.

      Various institutions would benefit from such a tool in the design of interventions to improve the health and quality of life of senior citizens in their care.


Advanced statistical methods contrasting and combining results from different studies.
Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

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