Malnutrition is a serious epidemic facing older Americans. Malnutrition among adults over 65 years is a growing concern because this health condition often goes undiagnosed and unrecognized, resulting in costly and sometimes fatal outcomes. (1)
In a recent study of 49 Meals on Wheels participants, researchers showed that three months of participation in the meal program significantly improved the nutrition status of malnourished clients with 42% identified as malnourished upon enrollment and only 8% identified at the three month follow up.
Using the same validated nutrition screening instrument referenced in this study, MOWCTX has been evaluating the impact our meals have on malnutrition for over 10 years. Our case managers use the Mini Nutritional Assessment on new clients aged 65 and older during their initial home visit to identify ‘malnourished’ and ‘at risk’ clients. Staff from our Nutrition, Health, and Impact Department then rescreen these clients after three months of receiving meals.
Over the last several years, we have found that 2 out of 3 ‘malnourished’ or ‘at risk’ clients improved in just three months of meal service. This data tells us that MOWCTX meals provide a therapeutic intervention leading to the improvement in nutrition status of clients served.
1. Defeat Malnutrition Today. (2017). Malnutrition and Older Adults: Review of the U.S. Federal Health Policy Landscape. https://www.defeatmalnutrition.today/sites/default/files/documents/Review%20Article%20DMT%20January%202017.pdf