About Malnutrition

What is Malnutrition?

Malnutrition occurs when a person's diet does not meet their nutritional needs. At Eat Well Age Well, we are concerned with undernutrition, i.e. malnutrition due to undernourishment. Malnutrition is a key public health problem that has a significant impact on individuals' health and wellbeing, cost the NHS billions per year. Malnutrition is a silent and hidden issue, there is a low awareness by the public and health professionals.

Who is at Risk of Malnutrition?

Older people are at higher risk of malnutrition than younger people and at Eat Well Age Well our focus is on older people aged 65 years and over. Older people living at home are at risk of becoming malnourished due to a variety of reasons such as decreased sense of taste and smell, restricted mobility and feelings of loneliness.

How many older people in Scotland are affected by malnutrition?

Malnutrition in the community in Scotland is not routinely measured, therefore the true extent of the problem is unknown.

Data from the UK Malnutrition Task Force estimates that 1 in 10 people living in the UK today are malnourished, or at risk of being malnourished, and we can estimate for Scotland based on population data that there are approx. 103,000 older people living in Scotland who have malnutrition, or who are affected by malnutrition. These figures are only going to worsen with an ageing population. For more information please read our Malnutrition Factsheet.