The Simplified Nutritional Appetite Questionnaire (SNAQ) as a Screening Tool for Risk of Malnutrition: Optimal Cutoff

Nutrients. 2020 Sep 21; 12(9):2885. doi: 10.3390/nu12092885.
Lau, S., Pek, K., Chew, J., Lim, J. P., Ismail, N. H., Ding, Y. Y., Cesari, M., & Lim, W. S.


Malnutrition is an independent marker of adverse outcomes in older adults. While the Simplified Nutritional Appetite Questionnaire (SNAQ) for anorexia has been validated as a nutritional screening tool, its optimal cutoff and validity in healthy older adults is unclear. This study aims to determine the optimal cutoff for SNAQ in healthy community-dwelling older adults, and to examine its factor structure and validity. We studied 230 community-dwelling older adults (mean age 67.2 years) who were nonfrail (defined by Fatigue, Resistance, Ambulation, Illnesses & Loss (FRAIL) criteria). When compared against the risk of malnutrition using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), the optimal cutoff for SNAQ was ≤15 (area under receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve: 0.706, sensitivity: 69.2%, specificity: 61.3%). Using exploratory factor analysis, we found a two-factor structure (Factor 1: Appetite Perception; Factor 2: Satiety and Intake) which accounted for 61.5% variance. SNAQ showed good convergent, discriminant and concurrent validity. In logistic regression adjusted for age, gender, education and MNA, SNAQ ≤15 was significantly associated with social frailty, unlike SNAQ ≤4 (odds ratio (OR) 1.99, p = 0.025 vs. OR 1.05, p = 0.890). Our study validates a higher cutoff of ≤15 to increase sensitivity of SNAQ for anorexia detection as a marker of malnutrition risk in healthy community-dwelling older adults, and explicates a novel two-factor structure which warrants further research.

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List of abbreviations

DGEM German Society for Nutritional Medicine (German Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährungsmedizin)
GESKES  Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (German Gesellschaft für klinische Ernährung der Schweiz) 
ESPEN European Society of Clinicl Nutrition and Metabolism