Sunday, 24 June 2012

Malnutrition - A Serious Problem


Malnutrition is sadly a serious problem in the country.  Malnutrition and particularly under-nutrition where people do not take enough calories or protein has a major effect on health and well-being.

This year a report from the annual Nutrition Screening Week showed that malnutrition affected;-

  • 1 in 4 adults admitted to hospital
  • 1 in 3 adults admitted to care homes
Malnutrition is not a trivial problem as it affects how people recover from operations and treatments.

Continual malnutrition over a long period contributes to

  • pressure sores
  • muscle weakness
  • apathy and depression
  • impaired immunity
  • poor wound healing
  • increased risk of fractures
  • anaemia
  • constipation
  • impaired temperature control –feelings of being cold
People who are malnourished visit their GP more regularly plus have longer hospital stays. The costs of treating malnutrition are over £7.3 billion per year.

Malnutrition is more likely in older people but the survey found it was also found in 26% of those admitted to hospital in the 20-29 year age group.

People in hospital, in residential care plus at risk in the community are recommended to be screened for malnutrition and one of the ways of doing this is to use the MUST (Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool) which was produced by BAPEN. This is very easy to use and is found at.

If malnutrition is detected it is then imperative to do something about it.

Image kindly provided under the creative commons licence by

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