Intended for healthcare professionals


Improved food intake in frail older people

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 18 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1165
  1. Anne C Milne, research fellow (,
  2. Alison Avenell, career scientist,
  3. Jan Potter, professor of geriatric medicine
  1. Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
  2. Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
  3. University of Wollongong, Sydney, NSW 2521, Australia

    Sociable meal times may combat malnutrition in long term care

    Concerns about obesity underlie much of the current emphasis on the importance of good diet. For older people, however, insufficient protein and energy intake is the main concern. Recent guidelines and policy initiatives on treating and preventing malnutrition have been developed in Europe and the United Kingdom for older people in hospitals and institutions for long term care and in the community.13

    On p 1180 Nijs and colleagues report a trial of family-style meals in Dutch nursing homes, an encouraging study for all those interested in the wellbeing of our increasing population of frail older people. 4 In our recent systematic review of 55 trials evaluating protein and energy supplementation in older people at risk of malnutrition in different settings, we found modest reductions in mortality and morbidity, but only in the undernourished groups in hospital.5 The evidence …

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