Europe obesity bill dwarfed by malnutrition costs24 September 2012
The cost associated with malnutrition in Europe is €170 billion a year - more than double the amount spent on obesity, according to a new report based on UK figures.
'Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) to Tackle Malnutrition', a dossier published by trade association The Medical Nutrition International Industry, claims that as many as 33 million are at risk of malnutrition in Europe. The dossier calls for malnutrition screening in hospitals, the community and in care homes and says that as many as one-in-three older adults are at risk.
Also highlighted is the high prevalence of malnutrition in hospitals where around one-in-four patients are already malnourished or at risk of developing malnutrition. This can in turn have negative effects on the outcomes of treatment, say the authors.
“Much of the public's attention is focused on reducing obesity, but in some people, getting them to consume an appropriate quantity of nutrient dense food is not possible,” said Professor Alessandro Laviano, the Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism’s Educational and Clinical Practice Committee chair.
“Subsequently their condition becomes worse and their complications are increased. Giving high quality protein through ONS is essential to help maintain strength in some patients and ultimately, using ONS helps to relieve the financial burden on hospitals and beyond."
“The fight against malnutrition is largely a battle that need not exist. There are screening models in place and ONS available which are a proven way to tackle malnutrition, but these are not always used,” added Jörg Griesel, the Medical Nutrition International Industry’s chair.
“Evidence shows that, even when identified as malnourished, up to 50% of patients aren’t given any kind of nutritional intervention.”
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