Nutritional interventions in older people with COVID-19: an overview of the evidence
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Nutritional interventions in older people with COVID-19: an overview of the evidence

Stacey Jones Course director/senior lecturer, dietetics, Coventry University, Coventry, England
Elizabeth Archer Professional lead and dietetic manager, mental health services for older people, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Nottingham, England
Dilek Ongan Associated professor, department of nutrition and dietetics, Izmir Kâtip Çelebi University, Izmir, Turkey
Cecilia Morais International office coordinator, faculty of nutrition and food sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
Robert Speer Clinical dietitian, department of geriatrics, Paracelsus Medical University, Nuremberg, Germany
Amalia Tsagari Clinical dietitian, department of clinical nutrition, KAT Hospital, Athens, Greece
Harriët Jager-Wittenaar Professor of malnutrition and healthy ageing, research group healthy ageing, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, the Netherlands
Mar Ruperto Professor of clinical nutrition, faculty of pharmacy and health sciences, CEU San Pablo University, Madrid, Spain. On behalf of the European Specialist Dietetic Network for Older Adults of the European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians

Why you should read this article:
  • To better understand why older people are at high risk of infection with, and negative outcomes from, COVID-19

  • To discern the role of nutritional interventions in supporting older people to recover from COVID-19

  • To locate available guidance on nutrition in older people being treated for or recovering from COVID-19

Older people are a high-risk group for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) because of a range of factors, including age-related changes in anatomical pulmonary and muscle function, decreased immunity and increased inflammation. These factors partly explain why older people with COVID-19 experience more severe symptoms and higher mortality than younger adults and are more likely to require nutritional support. Furthermore, there is an association between suboptimal nutritional status and poorer recovery from COVID-19. Therefore, nutritional interventions are an important aspect of care for older people with COVID-19.

All members of the multidisciplinary team, including dietitians and nurses, need to assess, treat and prevent nutritional deficiencies in older people with COVID-19. This literature review provides an overview of the evidence regarding the role of nutritional interventions in the treatment of, and recovery from, COVID-19 in older people.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2021.e1368

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Jones S, Archer E, Ongan D et al (2021) Nutritional interventions in older people with COVID-19: an overview of the evidence. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2021.e1368

Published online: 08 December 2021

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