Malnutrition Awareness Weekby Representative Marcia L. Fudge
Posted on 2015-10-01
in the house of representatives
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Ms. FUDGE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to bring attention to Malnutrition
Awareness Week. I salute those who fight against this underestimated
but very important disease. While we often talk about hunger, obesity,
food insecurity and other topics that deal with what and how we eat, we
do not talk nearly enough about the common thread that links these
issues together: malnutrition.
Though not commonly viewed as a medical concern in the U.S., malnutrition is a serious disease that largely affects certain demographic groups, such as older adults, hospitalized patients and minorities. For example, older African Americans have a significantly higher risk of malnutrition compared to their white counterparts.
A recent study estimated the economic burden of community-based diseases associated with malnutrition to be $157 billion per year. Studies have further shown that chronic disease is often linked with malnutrition, and 1 in 3 patients arrive at our hospitals malnourished. This translates into higher health care costs, increased readmission rates, and longer hospital stays. We need real, cost-effective solutions, particularly for those who need care the most.
We also need more vigilance and action in the area of good nutrition. Malnutrition screening, assessment, and appropriate nutritional interventions for older adults could be vital to them leading healthier lives and saving on healthcare costs. We cannot afford to ignore such low-cost solutions.
September 28 through October 2 has been designated as Malnutrition Awareness Week. Hopefully increased awareness about this problem will lead to healthier aging of citizens across all our communities.