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What is Malnutrition? 

Malnutrition is any nutrition imbalance that can present as either undernutrition or overnutrition.

Undernutrition means not eating enough calories, protein and other essential nutrients to meet the body’s needs. This can lead to health concerns such as loss of muscle, decreased strength, nutrient deficiencies and a weakened immune system. Undernutrition impacts a person’s health during illness, injury or hospital stay and can lead to: 

  • Increased risk of pressure injury
  • Increased risk of complications
  • Increased length of stay
  • Five times the likelihood of higher healthcare costs
  • Three times the likelihood of surgical infections
  • Increased risk for readmission within 15 days of discharge.

    One in three people admitted to the hospital are malnourished.

    Overnutrition means eating more calories than the body needs, but not eating enough essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals.  This can lead to health concerns such as obesity and nutrient deficiencies. Obesity can increase the risk for many serious health conditions including but not limited to: heart disease, cancer and diabetes. 
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