Basic Facts

Malnutrition is more common in adults over age 65. It can be bad for your health. It can cause medical problems, disability, hospitalization, and death.

Common Types of Malnutrition in Older People

Malnutrition includes under-nutrition and over-nutrition.

  • Under-nutrition happens when a person does not eat enough food. They may lose too much weight and have many health problems. People who have severe illness also may have extreme weight loss.
  • Over-nutrition can happen when a person decreases physical activity but eats as much as they used to do. Carrying extra weight is related to many serious diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and diabetes. Even when eating too much a person may have a poor diet.

About 10 percent of older people living in their own homes do not eat enough and one-third of people over the age of 65 eat too much. More than half of older people in hospitals or nursing homes have malnutrition (poor nutrition or diet).


Last Updated January 2023

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