A Malnutrition Solution

Posted on Thursday, September 8, 2022

America is the land of plenty when it comes to food, and yet millions of Americans are malnourished. Malnutrition happens when a person doesn’t have the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to help the body function properly. A person can be malnourished by lacking some nutrients, having too much of a nutrient, or having an imbalance of nutrients in the body.

Populations that are more at risk for malnutrition include people who are chronically ill with conditions including diabetes and heart disease, people who are poor or have low incomes, senior citizens, and children.

Malnutrition can lead to weakened immune systems, slower heart rates, fainting, weakness, digestive issues, and anemia. Over time a malnourished person can develop serious conditions – or a combination – that require hospitalization. To complicate matters, malnourishment, often one of the underlying causes of hospitalization, can slow recovery and put the patient at risk for readmittance.

One study published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition in 2021 evaluated 416 patients admitted to nine hospitals in Houston. Of those, 31% were malnourished on admission. This group tended to be older and had lower body masses than patients who weren’t malnourished. Compared to patients who weren’t malnourished, the patients with malnutrition had higher odds of having a hospital length of stay longer than three days, and they were also more likely to be readmitted within 30 days. With the average cost of a three-day hospital stay at around $30,000, it’s clear that whatever can be done to support malnourished patients can help reduce hospitalization costs in the long run.

A malnutrition solution

Improving access to nutritious food is fundamental to reducing malnutrition in America. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 38.3 million Americans lived in food-insecure households in 2020. And that number doesn’t factor in the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food insecurity. If people can’t get nutritious food because of cost, transportation issues, mobility problems, or lack of availability, it’s almost impossible for them to have a healthy diet.

Reducing barriers to food access is the first place to start. That opportunity is being addressed by private, government, and non-profit groups through food pantries, mobile growers’ markets, community gardens, education programs, and home delivery of pantry boxes and medically-tailored food for people living with chronic illnesses.

Home-delivered meals resolve many issues at once. They’re particularly helpful for America’s aging population, which often faces multiple complications to eating a nutritious diet, including chronic medical conditions, budgetary concerns, mobility issues that make it difficult to shop for and prepare meals, and lack of transportation.

Mom’s MealsÒ delivers refrigerated, medically-tailored meals to homes around the nation. Clients can choose from nine different health condition menus to support their nutritional needs and their taste preferences so they get the nutrition they need and the food they enjoy. Getting started is easy.


Sources:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22987-malnutrition

https://aspenjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jpen.2322

https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-the-u-s/key-statistics-graphics/

https://www.healthcare.gov/why-coverage-is-important/protection-from-high-medical-costs/

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