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Malnutrition and ageing
  1. M Hickson
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M Hickson
 Nutrition and Dietetic Department, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8RF, UK; mhickson{at}


This article aims to provide an overview of the problems that exist in relation to malnutrition and the elderly population. The changes that occur in body composition during ageing are described and how this may affect disease risk. The possible metabolic processes behind weight loss are discussed and the numerous factors that affect nutritional status in the older age group are described. Prevention of malnutrition in this group is important and so the roles of nutrition screening and assessment are examined.

  • FFM, fat free mass
  • BMI, body mass index
  • BCM, body cell mass
  • IL, interleukin
  • TNFα, tumour necrosis factor α
  • CNS, central nervous system
  • CCK, cholecystokinin
  • aged
  • appetite
  • malnutrition
  • sarcopenia
  • body composition

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

  • This article is part of a series on ageing edited by Professor Chris Bulpitt.

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