What is malnutrition?
Malnutrition is the failure to achieve nutrient requirements which can impair physical and/or mental health. It may result from consuming too little food or from a shortage or imbalance of key nutrients.
We typically associate malnutrition with undernutrition. This occurs when an individual is not able to meet their calorie or protein needs over a period of time. It may also occur if the body doesn’t absorb or use specific nutrients. Those who are undernourished often lose weight without trying. Their body is breaking down fat or muscle for fuel. This can make it harder for the body to heal and recover from illness. Typically, those who are undernourished experience increased length of stay when hospitalized. Undernutrition frequently occurs in the older population, especially in those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Some contributing factors include tooth loss and other dental issues, loss of appetite and functional decline.
How can someone who is overweight or obese be malnourished?
Obesity is a growing health problem and is increasingly being recognized as a form of malnutrition. Overnutrition is the long-term consumption of an excess of nutrients. The most common type of overnutrition in the United States results from regular consumption of excess calories, fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol. This puts us at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and other chronic disease. Obesity is more prevalent among low-income, food-insecure groups than among those with higher incomes. Households with little money often rely on cheaper, high calorie foods. This, in combination with lack of accessible opportunities for physical activity are some factors leading to the obesogenic environment in which many people are living.
What can we do to improve nutrition status?
Our primary goal is to promote increased intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low fat dairy, nuts and seeds.
What are some resources to help to improve nutrition status?
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Healthy Incentive Program
- Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
- Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
- Food pantries
- Soup Kitchens
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program
- Brown Bag Program
- Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
- National School Lunch Program
- Summer Food Service Program
- Meals on Wheels
Community Nurse Home Care is here for you.
Community Nurse Home Care is a nonprofit, independent home care agency providing visiting nurses, therapies, hospice, private care, and wellness services to southeastern Massachusetts since 1916. Our mission is to bring compassionate healthcare services home. The patient’s health care needs are met through personalized care within the privacy of wherever they call home. If you are interested in learning more about any of the services we provide at Community Nurse Home Care, give us a call at 508-992-6278 or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.