Treating malnutrition in the community

Br J Community Nurs. 2016 Nov 2;21(11):558-562. doi: 10.12968/bjcn.2016.21.11.558.


Malnutrition is a clinical and public health problem. It has adverse effects on the physical and psycho-social wellbeing of individuals by predisposing to disease, negatively affecting its outcome and reducing the likelihood of independence. An estimated 3 million people in the UK are affected by malnutrition, most of whom live in the community ( BAPEN, 2011 ). Despite the scale of this problem, it remains under-detected, under-treated, underresourced and often overlooked by those involved in the care of at risks individuals such as the elderly. In most cases malnutrition is a treatable condition that can be managed by optimising food intake and using oral nutritional supplements (ONS) where necessary. The main focus of this article is on the dangers of malnutrition for older people in the community and the use of ONS in the treatment and management of malnutrition.

Keywords: community; malnutrition; monitoring; nutrition screening; oral nutritional supplements.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Community Health Nursing*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Food, Formulated*
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition / diagnosis
  • Malnutrition / nursing*
  • Mass Screening
  • Nutrition Assessment