J Nutr Health Aging. 2020;24(7):696-698. doi: 10.1007/s12603-020-1400-x.
The COVID-19 pandemic is posing an unprecedented challenge to healthcare systems worldwide. Older adults, which frequently present multiple chronic comorbidities, are more susceptible to COVID-19 and experience more likely negative outcomes, in terms of disease severity and mortality. However, chronological age per se may not entirely explain the dramatic scenario described among the frailest and oldest persons. Comorbidities and functional status may indeed play a relevant role. Patients at high risk of adverse clinical outcomes in COVID-19 infection are the same at risk of malnutrition, namely older adults and multimorbid individuals. In fact, COVID-19 can negatively impact on nutritional status, both in patients admitted to the hospital with the most severe manifestations of the infection, as well as in those who experience milder/asymptomatic forms of the disease. Despite being quite difficult in these emergency circumstances, nutritional status needs to be assessed in all COVID-19 patients upon admission and during hospital stay. Early nutritional support should be guaranteed in order to improve several malnutrition-related adverse outcomes. The evaluation of the nutritional status is today even more crucial than in normal times given the delicate status of older patients with COVID-19.