NSI Determine Checklists – Grandma and me


My grandma, 79, scored a 6 on the NSI Determine Checklist, which puts her at “high nutritional risk.” Her eating habits are affected by GERD and she tries to avoid any processed foods high in sodium because of hypertension. She also eats alone most of the time and eats fewer than two meals per day. Although she dislikes eating fruits and vegetables, she does manage to obtain some of them in her diet. She drinks plenty of milk and uses dairy products liberally. She doesn’t drink alcohol, has enough money for food she needs (although she said she could use more), and only takes one prescription medication. She has not gained or lost 10 pounds without wanting to in the last six months. She shops and cooks for herself and reports that she also picks at food throughout the day.


I, 31, scored a 0 on the NSI Determine Checklist. I have no conditions that affect my diet, I eat balanced meals along with vegetables, fruits and milk products, and don’t drink more than one glass of wine daily. I have no mouth problems, have money to buy food, eat with others most of the time, don’t take any prescriptions, have maintained the same weight for years, and often shop and cook for myself.


Although there is a stark contrast between my nutritional risk and that of my grandmother’s, it doesn’t escape me that in 48 years I could be in the same situation as she is now. I realize that when I eat too much I too am susceptible to GERD symptoms such as reflux and heartburn. This may affect my nutritional risk in the future unless I am conscientious enough to make change in my diet to reduce inflammation in my esophogaus. As for my grandma, her high nutritional risk concerns me greatly because at her age, she should be more focused on nutrition than I am. We will need to change that.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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