Preventing malnutrition in later life

Malnutrition Awareness Week 2018

From October 1st-7th 2018, BAPEN,in partnership with the Malnutrition Task Force, is running the first ever UK Malnutrition Awareness Week.

Why are we doing this?MAW_logo_hashtag-1024x439

Research shows that 1 in 10 people  over the age of 65 are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. This silent and often hidden problem can seriously affect an older person’s health and wellbeing.

On top of this, awareness of malnutrition is low amongst both the public and healthcare professionals. The myth that getting thinner is ‘normal’ or inevitable in later life persists.

However, this isn’t the case. We hope that Malnutrition Awareness Week will sign a spotlight on the issue, to encourage everyone to recognise unintentional weight loss in later life, to take it seriously, and to take action to prevent it.

Malnutrition Awareness Week

Throughout the week, we are calling on all members of the public to:

  • Be clear that losing weight is not a normal part of ageing. It is important to keep an eye on your weight as you get older and to spread the message that unexplained weight loss should be taken seriously as it can have a significant impact on health and quality of life.
  • Look out for your relatives, friends and neighbours. Make sure you can recognise the signs and symptoms of unexplained weight loss including subtle signs such as loose clothing or jewellery, dentures not fitting properly or a smaller appetite. Think about whether someone might be at risk because of a recent change in personal circumstance, for example bereavement or depression. Have a conversation about food and appetite.
  • Check your own weight and that of people you believe may be at risk. If you are worried about your own weight or the weight of somebody you care about, use the simple, online self-screening tool developed by BAPEN, seek medical advice and look for things you can do to help.

The campaign also calls on all organisations of influence and policy makers to:

  • Drive public awareness and deliver better training for professionals.
  • Increase awareness of the hidden problem of dehydration, improve access to good dentition, and ensure older people have help with eating and drinking when they need it.
  • Provide more support for older people experiencing transitions in later life.

What can you do to help?

We need everyone to work together to raise awareness of malnutrition in later life.

To help members of the public and community leaders with understanding the risk factors, signs and symptoms and impact of malnutrition, BAPEN and the Malnutrition Task Force have developed a range of materials to help. All materials are available as a downloadable PDF, below, a file you can print yourselves, or a print-ready file if you are using a professional printer.

  1. The MAW call to action
  2. Understanding the risk of malnutrition as you age (leaflet)
  3. Advice for older people (leaflet)
  4. We are supporting MAW poster
  5. Be weight loss aware! poster
  6. Have you fallen for the malnutrition myths poster
  7. Online self-screening guide
  8. MAW selfie card

The print-ready files can be downloaded from BAPEN’s website, here.

Social Media

You can follow the conversation by following the MTF and BAPEN on Twitter and Facebook. We also want to hear what you’re doing in your local area! Share with us on social media and remember to use the hashtag #MAW2018!

If you have any questions about Malnutrition Awareness Week 2018, please email


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Malnutrition Task Force
Tavis House
1 - 6 Tavistock Square
London WC1H 9NA

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Tel: 020 3033 1522

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