Today, more people over the age of 50 understand the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle as they get older. More adults are eating better, exercising more and embracing the changes that come with age. Yet, occasionally a health setback can impact our daily lives, and recovering can distract us from our daily routines.

Some of these setbacks are familiar and, therefore, the signs are better known. For example, most people are aware of the signs of having a heart attack. One condition that is not as well-known is malnutrition, which can have a large effect on the aging population.

Abbott recently surveyed more than 500 people over age 50 and asked them to identify the signs of some of these common health conditions. The survey found that more than 60 percent were able to correctly identify the signs of a heart attack, the flu and a concussion, but only 2 percent knew the signs of malnutrition.

Malnutrition, or having a lack of nutrition, can have a significant impact especially when dealing with a health condition. To determine if you or a loved one are at risk for malnutrition, ask a few simple questions. Have you:

Been sick, injured or have an underlying health issue?
Experienced loss of appetite?
Lost weight without trying?

If you answered yes to two of these questions, you may be at risk.

So, how common is malnutrition?

Malnutrition is present in nearly every community and in hospitals around the world. Recently published research calculated the total cost of disease-associated malnutrition at $157 billion per year. The same research showed that a large portion of that burden was among seniors1. Nearly one out of every two elderly persons is at risk for malnutrition2, 3, which can significantly impact health outcomes and cost of care.

Take control of your nutrition

The effects, prevalence and costs of malnutrition are something we can reduce. Taking control of your nutrition not only can help improve your daily routine, but also can help you live a healthier life. Educate your family members about the symptoms of malnutrition, and speak with your physician or health care professional if you believe you or a loved one is at risk.

The time is now to improve your nutrition and make the most of the activities you've always loved. To learn more, visit



1 Izawa S, et al. Clin Nutr. 2006; 25:962-967.
2 Snider, J. et al., J Parenter and Ent Nutr. 2014; published online 23 September 2014. DOI: 10.1177/0148607114550000
3 Kaiser MJ, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2010; 58:1734-1738.