Preventing malnutrition in later life

The Food Chain: HIV and malnutrition

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As part of World Aids Day, Helen Ramsbottom from the Malnutrition Task Force takes a look at the Food Chain, an organisation that can combat malnutrition in people with HIV.  

Have you heard of the Food Chain?  It’s a London based voluntary organisation with a very simple idea: delivering meals across London to people living with HIV/related conditions in their homes.

With today being World Aids Day, I thought it was timely to have a look at what they’re doing.

I used to have a neighbour who volunteered for them on Sundays – she was a brilliant cook and helped prepare delicious meals which other volunteers would then deliver.

That’s quite a long time ago…… I re-visited the Food Chain website recently and remembered that due to advances in medicines, people are living much longer with HIV. That means there are significant numbers of people in their 50’s – and older -who are living with HIV right now.

People with HIV need to eat well, for the same reasons that we all do, but they also have to contend with the stigma surrounding HIV and the potentially isolating aspects of it. They also need help to absorb medications better.

Food Chain can arrange grocery deliveries with foods prescribed by their own qualified dietitians and nutritionists that will help people gain, maintain or lose weight. Lists are customised by the dietitians according to dietary, cultural and household needs at the point of referral.

Food Chain also run workshops on food preparation, and they bring groups of people together for hot, nutritionally-tailored meals and good conversation.

As you can imagine, these events are designed to improve participants’ overall health, energy levels, confidence and independence by offering the opportunity to meet new people, share experiences and learn more about healthy eating and other relevant topics.

See more information on the Food Chain’s website here: http://www.foodchain.org.uk/.

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