Nutritional supplementation of very old people at hospital discharge increases muscle strength: a randomised controlled trial

Rosemary Price, Fergus Daly, Christopher R Pennington, Marion E T McMurdo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Undernutrition is common in older people admitted to hospital, but little is known about how nutritional state changes after discharge.

OBJECTIVE: This randomised controlled trial was designed to examine the effect of oral nutritional supplementation of undernourished very old people prepared to take supplements after hospital discharge following acute illness.

METHODS: Participants aged>or=75 years with a BMI<or=24 kg/m2 and triceps skin fold thickness or mid-arm muscle circumference below the 10th centile and/or weight loss>or=5% during an acute hospital stay were allocated at random to either oral nutritional supplementation for 8 weeks from hospital discharge or to usual care. Primary outcome was change in weight, secondary outcomes were handgrip strength and anthropometry.

RESULTS: Of 198 patients eligible to participate, 136 patients (mean age 85 years) were randomised and 76/136 (56%) completed the study. Twenty percent (13/66) of the intervention group withdrew after only 2 weeks, citing intolerance of the supplements. Using intention-to-treat analysis, body weight increased by a mean of 1.6 and 2.2% in the control and intervention groups, respectively, but this between-group difference was not significant (p = 0.188). However, handgrip strength increased more (p=0.055) in the intervention group (13.9%) than in the control group (7.2%).

CONCLUSIONS: Oral nutritional supplementation was associated with a greater increase in handgrip strength than in non-supplemented controls and this observation merits further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-85
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2005


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition/diet therapy
  • Muscles/physiopathology
  • Nutritional Status
  • Patient Discharge
  • Treatment Outcome


Dive into the research topics of 'Nutritional supplementation of very old people at hospital discharge increases muscle strength: a randomised controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this