Malnourishment is a widespread problem with nursing home residents (Pauly L; Z Gerontol Geriat 2007; 40:3). According to a Viennese study, 48.3% of elderly nursing home residents are „at risk“ for becoming malnourished and further 37,8% are already malnourished (Kulnik D; Ann Nutr Metab 2008; 52 Suppl. 1:51). Malnutrition is associated with impaired health, thus, it appears necessary to identify factors which may enhance the acceptance and intake of meals in institutionalised patients.Sensory properties of food may be one contributor to the evolution of malnutrition. Over the past decade, numerous studies have dealt with the decline of sensory perception at higher age. Participants in these studies were usually independently living people. These studies have shown that the sensory perception declines (Koskinen S; Food qual pref 2005; 16:383; Koskinen S; Food qual pref 2003; 14:623; Kremer S; Appetite 2007; 48:9; Hulshoff Pol H, Chem Senses 2000; 25:461). However, the variation in olfactory performance among the elderly is large, nevertheless with few old people being as sensitive to odours as young ones (Koskinen S; Food qual pref 2003; 14:623).
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