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“Malnutrition can be avoided by healthcare professionals doing simple things such as monitoring weight and nutrition.” “We also need to educate caregivers and care home staff, as dementia training can be the difference between someone starving and living well with the condition.” Estimates from the charity Age UK suggest that 1.3 million people over 65 suffer from malnutrition, with the vast majority (93 per cent) living in the community.
The literature review, which was sponsored by Compass Group, a catering firm, examined the role of nutrition and lifestyle in preventing and causing dementia.
Meanwhile, research in the US found that half of those in care homes were not getting enough food or drink.
Experts in the UK said they suspect similar trends in this country.
Around 1.7 million people will have dementia by 2051.
The study, from Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) said malnutrition affects up to 10 per cent of older people living at home, 30 per cent of those living in care homes and 70 per cent of older people in hospital.
Some 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, and more than half have Alzheimer’s disease.
It says obesity in middle age may also be a risk factor for developing dementia in later life The report said there is no good evidence that taking nutritional supplements protects against dementia.
Amid conflicting evidence about the role of fish in preventing the disease, experts concluded that a protective effect does not exist, and that those who eat diets high in fish are more likely to be healthy in other ways.
However, the report says there is moderate evidence to confirm theories that the “Mediterranean diet” - a diet high in certeals, frutis, fish and vegetables - does seem to reduce the chance of developing the disease.
Such diets, which are rich in olive oil, with low intake of meat, poultry, and dairy products, and moderate consumption of wine, are particularly common across Greece, Spain and Southern Italy.