Up to two million suffering from malnutrition

New research has shown that approximately two million people in the UK are malnourished.

A study by the Malnutrition Advisory Group (MAG) found that up to 60 per cent of hospital patients are suffering with the condition and £226 million every year could be saved if it was identified and treated appropriately.

Those most at risk are the elderly, people with chronic diseases and those discharged from hospital. The effects of malnutrition include impaired immune responses, fatigue, depression and poor wound healing – all of which delay recovery from illness.

The study also showed that up to 50 per cent of patients in care or residential homes and up to 30 per cent of patients attending outpatient clinics and GP clinics are either malnourished or at risk of malnourishment.

Professor Marinos Elia from MAG said that malnutrition is a serious public health issue in the UK and that good nutritional care can have a positive impact on health.

‘GPs, nurses, residential care staff, dieticians – need to be given the means to accurately screen, monitor, and nutritionally treat those under their care, with continuity from hospital to home and vice versa,’ she explained.

The findings come at the same time as doctors and experts have been warning that life expectancy may start to fall for the first time in 100 years due to increasing obesity in children and young people.