Baeyens, Jean-Pierre, Elia, Marinos, Baroness Greengross, Sally and Lord Rea, Nicolas (eds.)
Malnutrition among older people in the community: policy recommendation for change. London, UK, European Nutrition for Health Alliance, 24pp.
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Malnutrition in our society does not receive the attention it deserves, and is all
too often overshadowed by the problem of obesity. Away from the clinical
sphere, malnutrition in the community is particularly under-recognised. The
risk and prevalence of malnutrition increases with age. Solving the problem of
malnutrition among older people is not only a public health imperative; it could
also yield important economic benefits.
Finding solutions in the community is more complex than within a ‘closed’
hospital or clinical setting – it requires gathering a broad array of stakeholders,
getting different professionals to work together and speak the same language.
As this report conveys, malnutrition is a prime candidate for such joint
thinking: its roots are social as well as clinical, and addressing it requires
solutions that span across the social and health fields. The critical and growing
role played by the voluntary sector, community service providers, and informal
carers must also be taken into consideration in any proposed solutions.
We are grateful to all the individuals (listed in the Appendix) who gathered
together to try to build a platform for discussing this critical topic. Treatable
malnutrition is unacceptable in our wealthy societies. It is only through true
partnerships and committed resources that we will be able to prevent
malnutrition and treat it effectively.
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