28 informonline.org.au Your health Could you be suffering from malnutrition? The global obesity epidemic receives a lot of attention. We’ve all heard about the health consequences of an expanding waist line. At the other end of the nutrition spectrum, there is another concern that receives much less media coverage.
Your health informonline.org.au 29 Malnutrition often brings to mind images of drought and famine stricken countries. But the problem of malnutrition is a lot closer to home. In fact, a recent Australian study found just over 40 per cent of communityliving older adults who were receiving home nursing services were either at risk of malnutrition or already malnourished. Malnutrition can have a significant impact on your quality of life. People who are malnourished are more likely to become unwell, and when unwell they take longer to recover and are more likely to suffer complications. People who are malnourished will need to see their GP more often, will need to be admitted to hospital more often and are more likely to need to move into an aged care facility at an earlier stage than someone who is well nourished As we age we become more vulnerable to malnutrition for a number of reasons: • our requirement for a number of nutrients increases, such as protein, calcium and vitamin D • we experience changes in our ability to taste and smell food as we get older. This can mean we no longer get the same enjoyment out of eating as we once did • physical changes can also make it more difficult to buy, prepare, cook, and eat food without help Take this quick quiz to find out if you could be at risk of malnutrition.