SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Supplements, Health & Nutrition - Europe US edition | APAC edition

Read more breaking news

 

 

Alliance wants malnutrition on the EU agenda

By Jess Halliday , 23-Nov-2006

Malnutrition is not usually associated with the prosperous west, but according to the European Nutrition for Health Alliance (ENHA), which is lobbying for public health action at EU level, more than 50m Europeans are at risk.

The multi-disciplinary alliance comprising stakeholders from health care professions, patient groups, non-governmental organisations, governments and industry says that 46 per cent of patients are found to be malnourished on admission to hospital.

The scope of ENHA's campaign covers the general population, but the largest target group is the over-60s; one third of older people are thought to suffer from malnutrition, which is described as "an imbalance of energy, protein, and other nutrients that causes measurable adverse effects on tissue and body form and function, as well as on clinical outcomes".

At a one-day conference in Brussels yesterday, the alliance presented information on the topic to policy makers and stakeholders, and discussed steps to put the issue on public health policies and ageing programmes.

"Malnutrition is not on the political agenda in any of the 25 countries of the EU nor in Brussels," said president Professor Jean-Pierre Baeyens. He called age- and disease-related malnutrition a "forgotten facet of poor nutrition", which places financial burden on health care systems across the continent. In the UK alone, the cost of malnutrition to the state has been estimated to be in the region of €10.5bn.

ENHA spokesperson Frank de Man told NutraIngredients that malnutrition is a complementary issue to obesity, the latter being brought about by a nutritionally imbalanced diet. Obesity gets more public health attention as a stand-alone problem - and indeed has been the focus of high-profile action in which food industry has been involved. But malnutrition, said De Man, is a bigger problem in terms of public health and money.

"Like obesity, which leads to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer, malnutrition is an issue that could be dealt with from a disease management point of view."

ENHA would like to see nutrition positioned as part of the care pathway, which would increase the effectiveness of care delivery - not to mention save money for insurers.

"Would like to encourage people to live alone for as long as possible, but they may need some coaching and information," said De Man. Education could come from a variety of sources, including GPs, nurses, dieticians, and the food industry.

He stressed that screening for malnutrition is also important. ENHA says that malnutrition is underdiagnosed and under treated, both in hospitals and nursing homes and in the community.

"Many people think they have no problem, but they are at an increased risk and may have longer stays in hospital if they are not well fed," said De Man.

He added that the food and nutrition industries have been very supportive of the conference, having a commercial stake and playing a role in the development and positioning of nutritional products. Industry stakeholders include Numico and Nestle.

A full report of the conference will be published early next year, together with an action plan for 2007-8.

Live Supplier Webinars

Polyphenols tipped to become the way to innovate in Sports Nutrition
Fytexia
Orally bioavailable standardized botanical derivatives in sport nutrition: special focus on recovery in post-intense physical activities
Indena
Collagen in motion: move freely and keep your injuries in check
Leading manufacturer of gelatine and collagen peptides
Life’s too short for slow proteins. Whey proteins hydrolysates: Fast delivery for enhanced performance
Arla Foods Ingredients
What it Takes to Compete and Win in Today’s Sports Nutrition Market
Capsugel
Sports Nutrition Snapshot: Key regional drivers and delivery format innovations
William Reed Business Media
Gutsy performance: How can microbiome modulation help athletes and weekend warriors
William Reed Business Media
Pushing the boundaries: Where’s the line between ‘cutting edge nutrition’ and doping
William Reed Business Media
Alpha & Omega in Sports Nutrition – Using Omega 3’s and A-GPC to improve performance and recovery.
KD Pharma

On demand Supplier Webinars

High-amylose maize starch may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: what does this qualified health claim mean?
Ingredion
Balancing Innovation and Risk in Sports Nutrition Ingredients
NSF-International
Explaining bio-hacking: is there a marketing opportunity for food companies?
William Reed Business Media
Personalized Nutrition – how an industry can take part in shaping the future of Nutrition
BASF Nutrition & Health
Find out Nutritional and ingredient lifecycle solutions and strategies!
Roquette
Is the time rIpe for I-nutrition?
William Reed Business Media
The Advantage of Outsourcing Fermentation-based Manufacturing Processes
Evonik Health Care
All supplier webinars