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Aging Policy: Preventing, Treating Malnutrition to Improve Health and Reduce Costs

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Did you know that obesity is not America’s only nutritional epidemic? A hidden epidemic of adult malnutrition cuts across all weight categories—from underweight to obese—and especially affects older adults.
Here are a few findings from the publication:
- A third to half of US adults are malnourished or at risk for malnourishment upon admission to the hospital—and longer hospital stays are associated with worsening nutritional status.
- About half of older adults in rehabilitation settings are malnourished.
- Only about a quarter of US medical schools provide at least 25 hours of nutrition instruction for medical students, as recommended by the National Academy of Sciences.
Fortunately, there are a range of possible policy interventions that can help mitigate the problem, enhancing the health and quality of life for older adults while simultaneously reducing healthcare costs. The upcoming reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, for example, is a key opportunity to expand access to malnutrition services and support. This publication was developed by GSA and supported by Abbott.

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