Posted: 2nd December 2019
Posted in: Health Tips
Malnutrition is a major contributor to poor health outcomes and reduced quality of life, particularly for elderly individuals where it is predicted that 32% of elderly Australians suffer from malnutrition.
Prolonged or severely reduced food intake can lead to physical and mental fatigue, reduced immune functions, delayed wound healing and muscle wasting.
Those most at risk of developing malnutrition include the elderly, those with increased nutritional needs, and those with conditions that reduce nutrition absorption.
In this post we’ll define malnutrition, examine its risk factors and identify what signs to look out for in yourself or your loved ones. Malnutrition can also be defined as an overconsumption of nutrients, however for this post we will only be discussing inadequate intake.
Malnutrition is caused by having a severe or prolonged period of inadequate energy and nutrient intake, this often occurs due to decreased food intake or increased metabolic needs. Consequences of malnutrition include decreased cognitive functions, physical exhaustion, muscle wasting, and delayed wound healing.
Because malnutrition occurs over a long period of time, or as a secondary consequence of another issue, it is easy to go unnoticed or be overlooked. Without appropriate intervention, malnutrition can create a cycle of decreased food intake and reduced quality of life.
All undernutrition malnutrition is caused by the body not being able to meet it’s metabolic needs from the food we provide it. Factors that can cause this metabolic imbalance include:
Malnutrition can have many adverse side effects, these include:
It isn’t always easy to identify, and it’s not just thin people who can be malnourished. Here are some initial indicators that someone may be suffering from malnutrition:
Malnutrition has a huge impact on our health and quality of life, there are many contributing factors to developing malnutrition and it might not be obvious to identify. By understanding its impact and what signs to look out for you can help to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition in Australia.
If you or someone you care for are suffering from malnutrition give us a call at Generation Physio, we have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All of our clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination. Give us a call on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.
Article Written By William Best
Will is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, Holding a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from the Sunshine Coast University. Will uses a patient-centred approach for all his clients, meaning that he will work with you to create diet recommendations that suit both your nutritional requirements and your lifestyle.
Will continuously strives to expand his knowledge about all things food-related, including food production, cooking techniques, nutritional qualities and different food cultures.
You can learn more about Will here.
RIST, G. , MILES, G. and KARIMI, L. (2012), The presence of malnutrition in community‐living older adults receiving home nursing services. Nutrition & Dietetics, 69: 46-50. doi:10.1111/j.1747-0080.2011.01572.x