The nutritional status of older people with and without dementia living in an urban setting in Central Africa: the EDAC study

Cecile De Rouvray, Pierre Jesus, Maelenn Guerchet, Pierre Fayemendy, Alain M Mouanga, Pascal Mbelesso, Jean-Pierre Clement, Pierre-Marie Preux, Jean-Claude Desport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To determine the nutritional status of elderly African people and to investigate the association between undernutrition and dementia. Design: Door-to-door cross-sectional surveys in the general population.
Setting: Representative districts of Bangui (Central African Republic) and Brazzaville (Republic of Congo). Participants: Population aged over 65 years.
Measurement: Undernutrition was defined as a body mass index <18.5. Anthropometric parameters (arm circumference, waist circumference and triceps skinfold thickness) were measured, and information was gathered on nutritional habits. Participants underwent cognitive screening using the Community Screening Interview for Dementia (CSI-D) and the Five-Word Test. After further neuropsychological testing and neurological examination, the diagnosis of dementia was confirmed according to DSM-IV criteria. Multivariate logistic regression models were applied in order to identify factors associated with undernutrition in populations with or without dementia.
Results: 1016 people were included. In the general population, the prevalence of undernutrition was 19.2%. Dementia was found in 7.4% of elderly people.
Compared with healthy people, patients with dementia had an increased prevalence of undernutrition (32.0% vs. 17.7%; p=0.002), lower weight (49.3±10.5 kg vs. 58.4±13.5 kg ; p<0.001), and lower BMI (20.8±4.1 vs. 22.9±4.8 ; p<0.001); they were less likely to eat their fill (38.9% vs. 45.9% ; p=0.001), had more dietary restrictions (36.1% vs. 24.3% ; p=0.03) and ate less often with their family (66.7% vs. 90.6% ; p<0.0001). Eating only one meal per day was the sole factor associated with undernutrition in dementia (OR: 7.23 [CI: 1.65-31.7] ; p=0.03).
Conclusion: The prevalence of undernutrition is high in the older population. The nutritional status of patients with dementia is more impaired than that of healthy patients. However, they are less often malnourished than in French home care settings. This study is the first to look at the nutritional status of at-home patients with dementia in Africa. These comparative data will eventually be used in the development of new nutritional intervention strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-875
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Nutritional Status
  • Dementia
  • Africa


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