Malnutrition As You Age

Published on

You may experience malnutrition as you age if you are not able to eat well-balanced, nutritious foods. Malnutrition is not tied to your weight. So, whether you are underweight, overweight, or obese, you may still be malnourished, and your health and well- being may decline. Fortunately, Older Americans Act (OAA) nutrition assistance programs offer well-balanced, nutritious meals, which may help you reduce your health risks.

With age you may experience malnutrition due to:

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Decreased ability to process food
  • Problems with chewing and swallowing
  • Oral health problems with your teeth and gums
  • Problems with mobility and vision that create difficulty shopping for or preparing food
  • Medications taken for chronic illness that can cause poor digestion or appetite, and affect your nutrition needs
  • Diseases that cause problems with thinking, learning, and remembering or your emotions, like Alzheimer’s disease and depression. They may prevent you from organizing meals or wanting to eat.Malnutrition can cause you to have:
  • Difficulty with learning, thinking, and remembering
  • Loss of muscle and bone
  • More infections, illness, and falls
  • Poor quality of life

Research shows that nutrition services can improve your health, function, and quality of life. Experts recommend a yearly nutrition screening when you have no functional problems. If you receive services and supports to remain at home, you may need screening four times a year.