Coronavirus disease 19 from the perspective of ageing with focus on nutritional status and nutrition management — a narrative review

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The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit older adults harder due to a combination of age-related immunological and metabolic alterations. The aim of this review was to analyze the COVID-19 literature with respect to nutritional status and nutrition management in older adults. No studies only on people aged 65+ years were found, and documentation on those 80+ was rare. Age was found to be strongly associated with worse outcomes, and with poor nutritional status. Prevalence of malnutrition was high among severely and critically ill patients.The studies found a need for nutrition screening and management, and for nutrition support as part of follow-up after a hospital stay. Most tested screening tools showed high sensitivity in identifying nutritional risk, but none were recognized as best for screening older adults with COVID-19. For diagnosing malnutrition, the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) criteria are recommended but were not used in the studies found. Documentation of olfactory and gustatory dysfunction in relation to nutritional status is missing in older adults. Other COVID-19-associated factors with a possible impact on nutritional status are poor appetite and gastrointestinal symptoms.Vitamin D is the nutrient that has attracted the most interest. However, evidence for supplementation of COVID-19 patients is still limited and inconclusive.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1294
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Infectious Medicine (30209)


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • older adults
  • inflammation
  • malnutrition
  • nutrition
  • vitamin D
  • sarcopenia
  • olfactory and gustatory dysfunction
  • GLIM
  • Prevalence
  • Age Factors
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Malnutrition/epidemiology
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Sarcopenia/epidemiology
  • Cytokine Release Syndrome/epidemiology
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Female
  • Nutritional Status
  • Agnosia/epidemiology
  • Olfaction Disorders/epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Hospitalization
  • Nutrition Therapy/methods
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases/epidemiology
  • Vitamin D/therapeutic use
  • Aged


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