The Association of Olfactory Function with BMI, Appetite, and Prospective Weight Change in Dutch Community-Dwelling Older Adults.

ABSTRACT. Objectives: The olfactory decline that often accompanies aging is thought to contribute to undernutrition in older adults. It is believed to negatively affect eating pleasure, appetite, food intake and subsequently nutritional status. We have evaluated the associations of olfactory function with BMI, appetite and prospective weight change in a cohort of Dutch community-dwelling older adults. Design: Cross-sectional cohort study. Participants: Dutch community-dwelling older adults from the ongoing Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Measurements and setting: In 2012-2013, the 40-item University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT) was administered to 824 LASA participants to evaluate their olfactory function. Body weight, height, appetite, comorbidity, cognitive status and socio-demographic factors were also assessed. Follow-up weight was measured after three years. Results: 673 participants (aged 55-65 years) were included in the regression analyses. Median UPSIT-score was 33. When adjusted for potential confounders, lower UPSITscore (indicative of poorer olfactory function) was not associated with poor appetite (OR = 1.062, p = 0.137) or prospective weight change (B = -0.027, p = 0.548). It was, however, associated with lower BMI in smokers (B = 0.178, p = 0.032), but not in non-smokers (B = -0.015, p = 0.732). Conclusion: Lower olfactory function scores were associated with lower BMI in community-dwelling older adults who smoke, but not with appetite or prospective weight change. Therefore, smoking older adults with olfactory impairments may pose as a vulnerable group with respect to developing undernutrition.