nutritionDay worldwide aims to improve the knowledge and awareness of malnutrition in healthcare institutions in order to improve nutritional care. When it comes to health awareness you often hear more about obesity than malnutrition. However, malnutrition is a big problem in the UK. Malnutrition affects around a third of hospital and nursing home populations and 3 million people are at risk of being malnourished at any time. Malnutrition refers to a state of nutrition where there is an imbalance in energy, protein and other nutrients from food. Malnutrition can occur after a deficiency or excess of these nutrients and can have many widespread effects on physical, social and psychological function.

Whether you work in a healthcare setting or if you know somebody who might be at risk of malnutrition you can do your bit for nutritonDay worldwide. Identifying somebody who may be at risk of malnutrition can be a huge help -decreased food intake, weight loss and changes in appetite are all risk factors for malnutrition. Many disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) require particular attention in order to maintain an adequate food intake.

There are several key signs of malnutrition including:

  • Loose clothes, jewellery and dentures
  • Reduced ability to perform normal tasks
  • A change in mood- e.g. lethargy and depression
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor growth in children
  • Delayed wound healing and recovery from infection.

It’s important that we recognise the sign of malnutrition in our friends, relatives or patients. Malnutrition can have many negative effects on quality of life and can also affect a patient’s health outcome and recovery.

To find out more about malnutrition and how you can participate in nutritionDay worldwide visit the nutrition day website.