(San Diego, CA – Sept. 23, 2011)  The statistics speak for themselves. And they are horrifying. Up to 53% of America’s senior citizens are malnourished when admitted to the hospital.  And estimates show up to 44% of the homebound elderly population becomes malnourished, the result of an unbalanced diet lacking essential nutrients.

When the world’s largest annual meeting of food and nutrition professionals gathers in San Diego September 24-27 for the American Dietetic Association’s 2011 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, the importance of good nutrition for seniors will be a part of their agenda.

“This undernourished population is more likely to be hospitalized, and once hospitalized, have a longer length of stay, poorer health outcomes, and a higher likelihood of readmission than those not suffering from malnutrition,” said Mary Mahoney, MS, RD, LD for Mom’s Meals, a company which delivers nutritionally balanced meals to seniors.

Because nutritional status is considered one of the most significant predictors of hospital readmission, patient outcomes are often significantly impacted by poor nutrition. Unfortunately, care transition plans (the patient care plan from hospital to home) often fail to address the importance of providing quality nutrition solutions that can be easily followed and available to patients post-discharge.

“Proper nutrition, especially in the elderly, is the key to extending life, enabling independence for a longer period of time, and avoiding costly medical intervention for a variety of ailments which would be exacerbated by this serious condition,” said Mahoney.

Crucial to the discussion is what can be done to keep this exploding population healthy, limiting hospital stays and costly readmissions, which can cost taxpayers up to $17 billion dollars a year, according to Dr. Stephen F. Jencks.  The former Medicare official authored a study showing the costs associated each year with repeat hospital admissions, many of which may have been prevented with better follow up care.

“Good nutrition, often taken for granted when we’re healthy and mobile, can be a major challenge for a senior living alone – healthy or not,” Mahoney continued.  “If you’re just home from the hospital and still too sick to care for yourself, or if you have limited mobility from surgery or a health crisis, the role of a well-balanced diet is crucial.”

“We continue to question why nutrition is not part of the transition from hospital into home equation,” said Dr. Sam Beattie, Director Technical and Nutritional Services, Mom’s Meals.  “One day in the hospital can run anywhere from $3500 and up versus one day of Mom’s Meals which costs just $18.95.  This is another example of an overwhelming problem with a very simple solution.”

Mom’s Meals, a family-owned, USDA inspected and approved fresh food preparation and delivery service, is dedicated to providing fresh meals to customers nationwide.  The company prepares, packages, and ships ready-to-heat and eat meals directly to a customer’s door, delivered by FedEx or UPS anywhere in the United States, and the meals stay fresh in a refrigerator for 14 days.  Customers may choose their own meals from a rotating menu of over 70 choices.

Mom’s Meals offers a variety of meals that meet the requirements of low sodium, low fat, and low carbohydrate recommendations that a physician might suggest.  Customers may customize their own menu of 10, 14, or 21 fresh-prepared meals from a menu of over 50 different options, and meals are delivered in ready-to-heat and eat packages that stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 14 days.

Media Contact: Deborah L. Albert 215.283.6006 (o) 215.421-1231 (m)