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Dieticians highlight dangers of malnutrition

02 October 2020

​Local dieticians will be joining a national campaign to highlight the importance of good nutrition and hydration as part of Malnutrition Awareness Week 2020.

From Monday 5 October until 12 October, a series of information and awareness packages will be sent out across Health and Community Services (HCS) with the aim of raising greater awareness of the signs and symptoms of poor nutrition (also known as malnutrition).

Malnutrition or undernutrition can affect anyone. However, the risk of malnutrition is increased in those who are frail or have underlying health conditions such as cancer, respiratory conditions and autoimmune diseases.

Senior Dietician, Anna Pallot, said: “During these unprecedented times, vulnerable groups of people, including the elderly population, may be less likely to shop for food as frequently which can further increase the risk of malnutrition.

“There are several schemes across the Island to improve access to food and other provisions such as Age Concern, Connect Me scheme and local home delivery services which we will be promoting this winter.”

Information from the Malnutrition Task Force and BAPEN, UK based organisations specialising in nutritional interventions, will be distributed across HCS to ensure that health and social care staff are reminded of the signs and symptoms of malnutrition, which can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions.

Macmillan Specialist Oncology Dietician, Laura Foster, said: “As part of my day to day clinical practice, I assess and treat nutritional issues experienced by patients with a cancer diagnosis who are also malnourished. Malnutrition can vary in severity and can be difficult to diagnose. Our first line approach is to promote a high calorie and high protein diet to help combat malnutrition.”

The awareness week will provide HCS staff with tools and resources on how to identify malnutrition, how to help prevent it and what to do if they are concerned about patients, friends or family members.

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