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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 352-360

Under-Nutrition in Older People: A Serious and Growing Global Problem!

Department of Geriatric and Rehabilitation Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, 5000, Australia

Correspondence Address:
R Visvanathan
14/22, Cambridge Street, North Adelaide, Adelaide, 5006
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 14699239

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Everyone agrees that adequate nutrient intake is important to all living things. Without food or water, life on earth would cease to exist. In the field of medical health, some gains have been made in meeting maternal and child nutritional needs. There is great community awareness regarding the importance of meeting the nutritional needs of the developing foetus and child. Malnutrition secondary to decreased intake in older people and weight loss is also a serious problem with unfortunately, very little notice from the community at large. As one ages, several physiological processes may contribute towards the development of protein energy malnutrition. Under-nutrition in older people is sadly far too common, even in developed countries. It is very likely that the same concerted effort used to address child malnutrition is required to combat under-nutrition in our elders. Protein energy malnutrition in older people comes at a significant cost to the individual, families, communities and the healthcare system. Failure to address this syndrome is not only unethical and unhealthy, but also costly. Vigilance and community awareness is important in ensuring that this important syndrome is detected and managed appropriately. This review mainly attempts to describe the pathophysiology, prevalence and consequences of under-nutrition and aims to highlight the importance of this clinical syndrome and the recent growth in our understanding of the processes behind its development. Some management strategies are also briefly described.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow