We tend to think that malnutrition is a problem in countries with lower socioeconomic status, but studies show that malnutrition is a common phenomenon amongst certain groups, even in the developed world. Older people are one group affected in this way. In recent surveys in the UK from 2009, 42% of people over the age of 60 admitted that they struggled to afford food along with fuel and 22% stated that they missed meals to cut back on costs.
The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) defines a person as being malnourished if they have a BMI of less than 18.5 or have lost a significant amount of weight, such as 10% of body weight, unintentionally over a 3 to 6 month period.
Patients in nursing homes and hospitals are at particular risk of malnutrition, especially if they are elderly or have other long-term conditions such as heart or lung problems, mental health issues or learning disabilities.
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Nutrition multiple choice
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Question 1 of 3
How many people over the age of 65 in the UK are malnourished?
Question 2 of 3
What proportion of people over the age of 65 are at risk of malnutrition at admission to hospital?
Question 3 of 3
What proportion of people admitted to hospital from care homes were at risk of malnutrition?