Malnutrition appears to be a common condition among the senior lot in Australia. This is not a good sign as it can slow their recovery process from an illness or accident.
A study of 102 patients recuperating at Sydney's Prince of Wales Hospital showed that almost 80 per cent were malnourished. At the same time, the study found that those patients who got help from a dietician were able to reduce their period of stay in the hospital.
Associate Professor Bolin said 'What we've exposed is the tip of the iceberg. Malnourishment doesn't just happen out of the blue. I'd suggest that in these individuals, it's been going on for several years. Elderly patients may appear to be a healthy weight but in fact be malnourished so body mass index alone is a poor indicator.'
Associate Professor Bolin went on to explain how the problem has not received adequate attention. With all the concentration on the obesity epidemic, issues pertaining to nutrition and malnutrition appear to be on the backburner for physicians and surgeons.
'Primary healthcare workers must also evaluate other factors like weight, weight that may affect a person's nutrition status, such as medication, social isolation and lack of support,' Professor Bolin added.