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Health Reports, September 2017

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Released: 2017-09-20

Nutritional risk, hospitalization and mortality among community-dwelling Canadians aged 65 or older

Seniors at nutritional risk were 60% more likely to die and 20% more likely to be hospitalized compared with seniors who were not at risk. These findings are from an analysis of the 2008/2009 Canadian Community Health Survey—Healthy Aging linked to hospital and death data released today in Health Reports.

Nutritional risk was evaluated using Seniors in the Community Risk Evaluation for Eating and Nutrition II–Abbreviated (SCREEN II-AB), developed at the University of Waterloo. Questions pertaining to weight change, nutrition intake, and dietary habits are used to assign scores to determine risk level.

Many factors can contribute to a senior becoming at risk. Chronic conditions and medication use may affect appetite. Mobility and transportation issues may interfere with purchasing and preparing healthy food. Not eating enough or not consuming foods that provide adequate nutrition can lead to malnutrition and frailty and generally affect seniors' overall health.

Close to a million (979,000) Canadians aged 65 or older living in nine provinces (excluding Quebec) were estimated to be at nutritional risk. Nutritional risk was found to be somewhat more common as people got older. While 32% of those aged 65 to 74 were at nutritional risk, the rate was 36% among those aged 75 or older. Senior women (37%) were more likely than senior men (29%) to be at nutritional risk.

  Note to readers

The 2008/2009 Canadian Community Health Survey—Healthy Aging (CCHS–HA) collected information about factors that contribute to healthy aging. The target population was people aged 45 or older living in private dwellings in one of the 10 provinces.

The Discharge Abstract Database contains information on discharges from public hospitals in Canada (excluding Quebec). Acute care hospital discharge records for fiscal years 2007/2008 through 2011/2012 were used for the linkage on which this analysis was based.

The Canadian Vital Statistics Death Database (CVSD) – formerly known as the Canadian Mortality Database (CMDB) – is a census of all deaths registered in Canada. Provincial and territorial Vital Statistics Registries report deaths to Statistics Canada, providing information on cause, dates of birth and death, names, and postal code at the time of death.

The CCHS-CSVD linked dataset is currently available in the Research Data Centres.


"Nutritional risk, hospitalization and mortality among community-dwelling Canadians aged 65 or older" is now available in the September 2017 online issue of Health Reports, Vol. 28, no. 9 (Catalogue number82-003-X).

This issue of Health Reports also contains the articles, "High use of acute care hospital services at age 50 or older" and "Duration and quality of sleep among Canadians aged 18 to 79".

Contact information

To enquire about "Nutritional risk, hospitalization and mortality among community-dwelling Canadians aged 65 or older," contact Pamela Ramage-Morin (, Health Analysis Division.

To enquire about "High use of acute care hospital services at age 50 or older," contact Michelle Rotermann (, Health Analysis Division.

To enquire about "Duration and quality of sleep among Canadians aged 18 to 79," contact Jean-Philippe Chaput (, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario.

For more information about Health Reports, contact Janice Felman (613-799-7746;, Health Analysis Division.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

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