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Sixty seconds on . . . malnutrition

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k789 (Published 20 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k789

Re: Sixty seconds on . . . malnutrition

Malnutrition in the elderly is present in United Kingdom and all countries. (1)

The price of foods rich in micronutrients (vegetables and fruits) is higher and this discourages their consumption. (2) The World health Organization has launched an initiative “Keep fit for life. Meeting the nutritional needs of older persons (WHO, 2002)” , which is intended as an authoritative source of information for nutritionists, general practitioners and gerontologists. Community support is needed for improved nutrition for older persons, as well as community-based interventions. (2)

Undernutrition in older people can be due to low protein intake, illness, change in food habits, inadequate amount and types of food intake, teeth problems, low income, and reduced social contact. In Asia, however, it has been observed that 16% to 78% of hospitalized elderly are malnourished. (3,4). In Singapore an initiative has been taken to give a residence for the elderly near their married children’s residence. This will encourage elderly care regarding nutrition by their children (5).

Water is also an essential nutrient and older people are vulnerable to dehydration due to physiological changes in the ageing process as the thirst sensation is affected. Dehydration leads to poor health outcomes due to changes in cognition and increased hospitalisation and mortality. Poor oral intake of fluids by the elderly is due to the inability to feed independently and having poor availability and access to fluids (6).

With the increase in the number of elderly people in all the countries' efforts should be made to give special attention and care for the elderly.

References
1. S. Mayor. Sixty seconds on . . . malnutrition BMJ 2018;360:k789
2. Nutrition for older persons http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/ageing/en/index1.html
3. Chern CJH, Lee SD. Malnutrition in hospitalized Asian seniors: an issue that calls for action. J Clin Gerontol Geriatr. 2015;6(3):73–77
4. Abd Aziz NAS, Teng NIMF, Abdul Hamid MR, Ismail NH. Assessing the nutritional status of hospitalized elderly. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2017;12:1615-1625. doi:10.2147/CIA.S140859.
5. Public Housing – A Singapore Icon - Housing & Development Board ... www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/about-us/our-role/public-housing--a-singapore-...
6. Dehydration in the elderly - British Nutrition Foundation https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/life/dehydrationelderly.html

Competing interests: No competing interests

07 March 2018
Dr. Yashoda R Kattimani
Assistant professor
Mr.Santoshkumar Sah. PhD student in Physiology, Dr.Manjusha Padhye. Tutor, Dr. Mahantayya V Math. Associate professor, Department of Phyysiology MGM medical college Kamothe NaviMumbai
Department of Physiology, MGM Medical college, Kamothe, NaviMumbai-410209
MGM Medical college, Kamothe, NaviMumbai-410209