What is malnutrition?
Malnutrition is a condition in which an individual does not receive sufficient nutrients to maintain their body’s essential functions including growth, maintenance and movement.
What causes malnutrition?
Malnutrition is caused by unbalanced nutrition – both over and under nutrition. Most commonly malnutrition relates to under nutrition caused by not eating enough, not eating enough of nutritious foods or not being able to absorb or digest nutrients.
Malnutrition is both a cause and consequence of ill health. Individuals who are malnourished can have impaired immune function making them more susceptible to disease and infection. Additionally, illness can result in malnutrition as individuals may eat and drink less when they are ill.
Who is affected by malnutrition?
Anyone can become malnourished if they do not receive sufficient nutrients to maintain their body’s functions. However, the groups most at risk are
- the elderly
- people with long term illness or disorders
- people recovering from surgery or serious illness.
What impact does malnutrition have on people?
Malnutrition can severely impact quality of life by adversely affect the body in a number of ways including
- a reduction in body mass and muscle mass
- decreased mobility and strength as a result of muscle loss
- respiratory difficulties
- poor wound healing
- slow and compromised immunity increasing the chance of getting infection and increasing infection recovery time.