Spotlight on Malnutrition Month 2021: Academy Highlights Initiatives to Address a Condition that Affects Many Hospitalized Seniors

September 7, 2021

CHICAGO – During September, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' 2021 Spotlight on Malnutrition Month will highlight initiatives that enable registered dietitian nutritionists and other health care providers help alleviate a condition that affects many seniors, especially those in hospitals and long-term care facilities.

"Clinical malnutrition is a serious medical condition that must be addressed quickly and comprehensively to avoid affecting a patient's medical treatment, health care cost and recovery," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy Spokesperson Melissa Prest.

"Registered dietitian nutritionists, who are the food experts, are trained to make recommendations and work with the health care team to help patients receive the nutrition they need," Prest said. RDNs identify and treat patients with malnutrition by administering medical nutrition therapy, or MNT.

The Academy and its Foundation are facilitating initiatives to alleviate malnutrition. 

The Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative is a project of the Academy, Avalere Health and key stakeholders collaborating to provide guidance and expertise for clinical malnutrition. The initiative aims to advance evidence-based, high-quality, patient-driven care for hospitalized older adults who are malnourished or at-risk for malnutrition.

The Academy also is in the midst of its "ACT now for MNT" advocacy campaign encouraging its members to add their support to the passage in Congress of the federal Medical Nutrition Therapy Act. "If passed, the legislation would provide coverage for Medicare beneficiaries to obtain treatment from RDNs for malnutrition and other chronic diseases," Prest said

The Academy's Foundation collected donations to fund malnutrition research through its Second Century Member Campaign and funded the Academy and American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Indicators to Diagnose Malnutrition Validation and Optimal Staffing Study. The study is being conducted in 120 hospitals across the nation to develop a RDN staffing model to help hospitalized patients with malnutrition. The Academy Foundation also funded the Malnutrition in Older Adults: Evidence Analysis Project, which will develop recommendations for the treatment and prevention of malnutrition in older adults living in long-term care facilities.

The Academy's efforts will continue into October as an ambassador of ASPEN Malnutrition Awareness Week, October 4 to 8.

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Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Representing more than 112,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity dedicated exclusively to supporting nutrition and dietetics professionals by empowering them to help consumers live healthier lifestyles. It makes an impact with Academy members and throughout the profession with its scholarships, awards, research grants, fellowships, public education programs and disaster relief efforts. Through philanthropy, the Foundation empowers current and future food and nutrition practitioners to optimize global health. Visit the Foundation at www.eatrightFoundation.org.