Malnutrition simply means ‘poor nutrition’ and can occur when a person’s diet lacks essential nutrients.
The term ‘malnutrition’ can refer to a person who is underweight or overweight. The information on the page is intended for those who are underweight or losing weight unintentionally.
Anyone can be affected by malnutrition. However it is particularly common amongst older people and those with poor mobility, poor physical health or mental health problems.
Signs and symptoms of malnutrition are weight loss, loss of appetite, disinterest in food and/ or drinks, tiredness and changes in mood.
Malnutrition has many negative effects on health such as; an increased risk of illness and infection, increased risk of falls and slower wound healing.
Treating and preventing malnutrition
Your General Practitioner (GP), nurse or dietitian will be able to provide dietary advice and suggest how you can adapt your diet to prevent weight loss or increase your weight. This advice is often referred to as ‘Food First’.
Useful local and national resources:
- Food First advice sheet (PDF leaflet)
- Read about malnutrition on the NHS website
- Malnutrition food fact sheet (PDF leaflet)
- Keeping a healthy weight in later life
- Preventing malnutrition in later life
Other treatment options are available to people with malnutrition, please see your GP for further advice.