- At any one time there are over 3 million adults undernourished in the UK (Elia and Russell 2009). This can have very serious consequences for those individuals but also the economy of the nation.
- Did you know that undernutrition costs the UK more than obesity and the cost is still increasing. In 2015 the cost of undernutrition was estimated to be in excess of £19.6 billion per year (Elia, 2015).
- 14% of people over the age of 65 (Stratton and Elia 2005)
- 14% of older people living in their own home (Elia and Russell 2008)
- 14% of people living in sheltered housing (Elia and Russell 2009)
- 35% of residents in elderly care homes (Elia and Russell 2009)
- 34% of hospital admissions (Elia and Russell 2009)
- 10% of patients attending outpatient departments and GP clinics (Elia 2009)
- The risk of undernutrition steadily increases with age from 9% of 65 years compared to 19% of 90 years (Elia and Stratton 2005)
- Geographical habitation can influence its prevalence. Older people who live in the north of England have a 73% greater risk of becoming undernourished compared to those in the south (Elia and Stratton 2005)
- Undernutrition can affect an individual’s outcome. It can increase vulnerability to illness, increase clinical complications and even death (Brotherton et al, 2010)
Some signs of undernutrition include:
- Weight loss
- Weakness and tiredness
- Depression and anxiety
- Reduced mobility
- An older person who is undernourished has triple the risk of dying in hospital and after discharge (Stratton and Elia, 2006)
- Timely identification and treatment of undernutrition can reduce clinical complications associated with undernutrition by as much as 70%, while excess mortality can be reduced by around 40%. (Stratton et al 2003).