Usually we think of families in 3rdworld countries, or maybe those with clinical eating disorders such as anorexia
nervosa or bulimia.
You probably don’t associate malnourishment with eating food, but the truth is you can be malnourished whilst still eating regularly.
According to the BDA (British Association of Dieticians) in the UK alone around 3million people suffer from malnourishment costing the NHS an excess of £13 billion per year!
This post is designed to help you understand what impacts our nutritional status: signs of malnutrition, high-risk groups, links with poverty, and simple ways to eat yourself healthy whilst cutting costs.
Malnutrition occurs when your body is not getting the correct amount of nutrients
it needs from your diet.
Whilst usually associated with poorer countries where their diet is restricted and there is less food security, it is increasingly becoming a problem in Westernised societies due to:
- Highly accessible and cheaper convenience foods with little to no nutritional benefit (think ready meals, sugary snacks, cereals, takeaways).
- Increased food prices making cheaper alternatives more attractive
- Growing economic stress
- Miss-communication; healthy eating messages usually focused on weight not tackling the larger picture of malnutrition
More people opt for as a quick fix. Due to the rise in food prices and other personal or environmental, stress factors, these food choices can seem like an easier option than preparing meals themselves.
is the leading cause of morbidity (disease) and the
consequences harsh. From the direct
impact on daily functioning, lowering immunity, energy levels, disrupting
sleep and cognitive abilities(thinking, problem solving, mood, IQ, reasoning abilities).
To the more indirect, or long-term impacts, on heart and bone health, fertility, social, and economic growth.
Diet shapes your brain, impacts your body and influences your quality of life.
There are few things you can look out for when identifying malnourishment in yourself or others:
· Weight loss/weight gain
· Loss of muscle strength
· Loss of appetite and mood changes
· Reduced quality of life
· Inability to carry out daily activities & loss of independence
· Slower healing and easily picking up illnesses like colds and flu
· Increased infection
· Poor sleep
· Thinning of hair and nails
You may notice how many of those link in
with symptoms of mental health illnesses like depression. It is important to
note how our body and mind are not separate entities and work together to help us
Malnutrition can impact anyone, but there are certain groups who are deemed as being more "high risk”:
· Those suffering from mental health or disability
· Those with income-poverty
· Those with lower education or lack of education around healthy eating and simplistic nutrition
· Children who may be carers for parents and/or siblings
· Those suffering with clinical eating disorders and other conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, that can influence the body's ability to absorb nutrients
· Minority groups & those at risk of social isolation
Malnutrition has serious consequences on child development and, for pregnant mothers, foetal development. Therefore it is important that when we look at tackling food poverty, and supporting those most at risk of nutritional deficiencies, in order to reduce the immediate, and future, impact on health and wellbeing.
Low income is a massive factor that puts
families under pressure and at risk of food insecurity and malnutrition.
Low-income families are also at a higher risk of illness and disability meaning their costs of healthcare may be higher, leaving even less to budget healthy eating, and with the additional stressors experienced, making diet and lifestyle bottom of the priorities. Having to take days of work, or school due to poor health as a result of malnutrition can perpetuate the problem, interrupting education, or economic advances. And so the poverty cycle deepens.
Here are some simple steps to kick-start yours and your family's health today:
gentle on yourself.
It’s all about the small steps, forget the bigger picture, and work each day at the little changes you can implement into yours and your family's lives that down the line will make for a long, happy, healthy future.
If you’re stuck we want to support you through your journey. Our freeFoodWise courses run around Guildford and Woking.
On them you are fully catered for,supported, you’ll build community as well as learning important life-skills that enable you to support yours and your family's health whilst still cutting the costs.
Ruth Boughton is our newest Food Coach. Get to know her below and find out why she chose to work for FoodWise.
What drew you to work for FoodWise?
I enjoy being with people and cooking and feel strongly about getting good quality food to families that are struggling. The way FoodWise courses are taught means that the sessions have a long-term impact and people are also able to stay in touch and get future support.
Tell us a bit about your background?
I started cooking at Crusader camps and then became a caterer at Saint Saviours in Guildford. I combine my work with FoodWise with my own gardening business and really enjoy seeing the journey of food from garden to plate.
What have you enjoyed most so far?
I love seeing the impact the courses have on people who come in with no experience or confidence. To see the thrill on people’s faces when they’ve cooked something and their family has said how much they have enjoyed it is wonderful. One client has commented ‘Why do we need takeaways when we can cook like this?’ That was a great result.
What is your favourite meal?
I love being creative with food and throwing a meal together from what’s in the fridge. As well as that I love a good cheeseboard with a glass of wine!
FoodWise was delighted to be able to help CAP clients from Woking and Guildford with their Christmas meal back in December. We delivered turkey crowns to people across the towns who would otherwise have struggled affording this expensive item for their Christmas lunch. It was wonderful to see the joy this gift brought to people in need, and the relief for the parents of families who may otherwise have gone without. Jane Seals of CAP commented ‘Our clients were blown away by your generosity”. FoodWise is particularly grateful to Prince and Sons butchers in Horsell for kindly donating the turkeys at cost price. This initiative was so successful we are already planning to go ahead with further turkey donations in Christmas 2018. If you can help in anyway, please get in touch!
FoodWise teamed up with Burpham Football Club to cook for older people in the local community this weekend.
Around thirty guests gathered at Burpham church on Sunday evening to enjoy a home cooked meal of cottage pie and apple and blackberry crumble, brought to them by Burpham FC players including Edward Murphy, Christopher Jackson and coach Scott Kemp.
Barbie, one of the guests, commented, ‘It was lovely to see the Burpham Football guys and we really appreciate the hours that have gone into preparing all the delicious food."
FoodWise is delighted to have Burpham Footballers working alongside them to highlight the charity’s work. Scott commented "It’s great to give something back and reach out in the local community. This kind of partnership working is a great way to build bridges. It doesn’t have to always be about money, it’s also about giving your time.”
Edward Murphy and Scott Kemp from Burpham Football Club with Gracie Luke and Ruth Boughton from FoodWise.
FoodWise has had a great time working with Broadmere Primary Academy this year. The school is located in Sheerwater where child poverty levels are as high as 34%.
In the summer term our Food Coach Gracie worked with Year 4 and 6 children teaching healthy eating and making delicious vegetable curry and ratatouille. The children took great pride in taking home their cooking for dinner. The children learnt about where food comes from, what’s good for us, and how simple it is to cook up a healthy meal with a few basic ingredients. We were delighted to have feedback from the kids including ‘Can we do this again?’ ‘ It was amazing.’ and a great tip from one of them ‘If you make something you’ve never tried, try it, it could be nice!’. The children even got bags of the ingredients to take home at the end of term so they could make the meal again over the holidays.
We followed this up with some family lunches in the summer holidays, hosted at St Michael’s Church, just opposite the school. These were open to all families in the community. Fun activities included making place mats and chopping fruit, before joining together for a healthy lunch. We received lovely comments about the welcoming, friendly atmosphere and it was great to work in partnership with St Michael’s and Christ Church Woking, to reach out to our local community.
Rebecca Whale, our new Partnership Manager introduces herself.
Hi, I’m Becky and I am delighted to have joined the FoodWise team. I’ve spent a lot of the last 20 years working in politics, local government and charities, so I’ve always been keen to do what I can to help others, and that’s what drew me to FoodWise.
As a mother of two young children, it troubles me that others of their
age are living in hunger. Recent statistics from the End Child Poverty Campaign reveal that in some areas
of Woking and Guildford child poverty levels are as high as 34%. In an
otherwise affluent part of the UK, the voices of those suffering food poverty
and hunger on a daily basis need to be heard and action taken.
FoodWise’s mission is to get into these areas, offering practical support
and help that gives local people the cooking and budgeting skills to make a
difference to their lives and those of their family.
In my first month I’ve been out talking to Food Banks, schools, local community workers, homeless projects and housing associations, getting to grips with the need and working out how best our Food Coaches can help.
We already have some great partnerships, with The Lighthouse in Woking and with Woking Borough Council, to mention just a couple, and I look forward to building many more in 2017.
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