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Nutrition and Hydration Week 2017 – 13th – 19th March

 

Blog by 3fivetwo Healthcare Specialist Dietitian Gillian Killner.

 

Nutrition and Hydration Week aims to highlight, promote and celebrate improvements in the provision of nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and globally.

 

Sadly, we are all too familiar with the stark divide in our worlds health and nutrition. For decades we have watched much of the world starve while the rest have the luxury of eating to excess and unfortunately, with this, the negative repercussions.

 

As a Dietitian for the past 20 years I have always been drawn to helping the world as a whole, but for the best part of my career it has been to assist the locals on our door step.

 

I took the letter below from a previous awareness week. The details, I consider, still to be a common occurrence locally, but unfortunately often overlooked:

 

Dear Sir/Madam

My story is as a direct result in my twin sister who is a nurse (she thought she knew what was wrong) saying to me that our Uncle John needed help, and I was the only one in the family who he would listen to. He had swollen legs and feet is 82 years old and lives alone.

I thought he had dementia but after a visit to the GP he had an infection and his protein levels were very very low as he was not eating properly. He needed to eat fish, meat cheese etc for at least 4 weeks almost three times a day to help his legs to go down.

It took Uncle John 3 weeks to get better and he is now going to bed, walking to the shops and is back to normal. He now understands about eating properly instead of cakes etc as at his age it was a lot easier just to eat cake. I also told him to drink more which would help his kidneys.

A lot of people don’t know what a lack of protein does to the body (myself included). Everyone needs a little more education.

Uncle John is now fit and well and I pop in each week to check on him as he lives alone. The good news is he doesn’t have Dementia and is still happy to live on his own with no swollen feet or legs.

I hope this story helps to spread the word about eating properly. Thanks Jane

 

So “what’s the big deal? A little bit of extra food and drinks and he was fine”.

 

Thankfully this was a great outcome and the man recovered without incident. This however is not the case for many who with admission to hospital, antibiotics etc can suffer secondary infections, wounds, pneumonia and death.

 

In 2015 the total public expenditure on malnutrition in health and social care was estimated to be £19.6 billion, with older adults accounting for 52% of the total, younger adults for 42%, and children for 6%. Institutionalisation of malnourished people (hospital inpatients and care home residents) accounted for up to £9.3 billion

 

This problem is set to worsen as the population shifts:

 

The baby-boom generation has become the lonely generation as the number of people aged between 45 and 64 living on their own soared by 23 per cent over the past decade.

 

In 2015 records show there are 7.7 million one-person households in the UK – an increase of almost 16.7 per cent since 1996 – 54 per cent of them comprised one woman and 46 per cent one man. People living alone now account for one in every 3.5 households.

 

What does this all really mean? In the simplest of terms, it means:

 

Food and Hydratiion = Health and Life

 

1)    Ensure you and your family members look out for each other, especially the elderly.

2)    Check on any neighbours on their own.

3)    Poor food choices lead to ill health.

4)    Sugar and unhealthy processed food robs you of vital nutrients for immunity.

5)    Much of our local malnutrition can be avoided by eating well and drinking sufficient healthy fluids.

 

If you wish to have your dietary health assessed, we would be delighted to assist you further.

 

Gillian Killiner BSc (Hons) MSc RD

Posted on 13 Mar 2017