IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 1236: Influence of Chewing Ability on Elderly Adults’ Cognitive Functioning: The Mediating Effects of the Ability to Perform Daily Life Activities and Nutritional Status (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Chewing ability is also related to activities of daily living (ADLs) and nutritional status; however, these associations have not been firmly established. We examined chewing ability as a predictor variable and explored its relationship with cognitive functioning as mediated by ADLs and nutritional status data were collected by face-to-face interviews. Patients were receiving home healthcare service in Mun-gyeong city, Gyung-buk, Korea. Participants comprised 295 patients aged 81.35 ± 6.70 years. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was performed using AMOS 18.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). The model fit was based on absolute fit index and incremental fit index. Data were collected to assess cognitive functioning (using the Korean version of the Mini-Mental Status Examination for dementia screening (MMSE-DS)), ADL, a mini-nutritional assessment (MNA) questionnaire, and a chewing ability test. Participants with better chewing ability had significantly better cognitive functioning, ADLs, and nutritional status (p < 0.001). Chewing ability directly affected cognitive functioning and indirectly affected how ADLs and MNA affected MMSE-DS. Chewing ability is an important factor influencing the cognitive functioning of elderly adults in Korea, both directly and indirectly through mediating variables such as nutritional status and ADLs. Efforts to help older adults maintain their chewing ability are necessary for preventing cognitive impairment.