Adult and Senior Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, especially among older adults. Up to one in two adults age 65 and older and as many as 39% of older adult patients may be malnourished or at-risk. Additionally, up to 31% of malnourished patients and 38% of well-nourished patients experience nutritional decline during their hospital stay. Changes commonly associated with aging such as loss of appetite, limited ability to chew or swallow and use of multiple medications place older adults at a higher risk for developing malnutrition.

Did you know?

  • The economic burden of disease-associated malnutrition is $51.3 billion for seniors.
  • Half of all adults 65 and older may be malnourished or at risk for malnutrition.
  • Malnourished adults are 5 times more likely to die during a hospitalization and 54% more likely to be readmitted.

Recognizing the domestic and global impact of malnutrition and the role Academy members can play in preventing and treating malnutrition, the Academy began advocating for quality measures that would bring malnutrition to the forefront of health care. The Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative, or MQii, is a flagship program for the Academy along with partners Avalere and Abbott which is changing the way malnutrition is perceived and addresses malnutrition across the U.S. Read more about this ground-breaking project in the September issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The MQii Toolkit provides additional resources for implementing quality measures.

In addition, Academy dietetic practice groups are helping Academy members with resources and practice tips to recognize and treat malnutrition, including Clinical Nutrition Management, Dietetics in Health Care Communities, Oncology Nutrition, Dietitians in Nutrition Support, and Healthy Aging, among others.

Advance Malnutrition Care at Your Organization

Are You Interested in Advancing Malnutrition Care at Your Organization? The Academy and Avalere Health are enrolling participants for the 2018 MQii Learning Collaborative, and invite you to join in advancing malnutrition care. This collaborative brings together leading hospitals and health systems across the U.S. to support acceleration and dissemination of malnutrition best practices for hospitalized patients. Participants undertake a data‐driven, patient‐centered, malnutrition quality improvement project at their respective hospitals using a best practices toolkit, and can use clinically-meaningful measures to track and monitor improvement. Learning Collaborative participation and all included resources are free. Interested hospitals and health systems, please email

National Dialogue

In March 2018, a multi-stakeholder group of health and community leaders and advocates came together for a National Dialogue on advancing care coordination co-hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Avalere Health and Defeat Malnutrition Today coalition. The Dialogue Proceedings,"Advancing Patient-Centered Malnutrition Care Transitions," published in July 2018, includes an infographic demonstrating that it is equally important for providers, patients, family and caregivers, policymakers, payers and others to collaborate on opportunities for integrating optimal nutrition care into national quality and care coordination models and programs.

Events and Opportunities

Learn and connect with colleagues at events focusing on adult and senior malnutrition.

Complimentary Webinar

Transitioning from Hospital to Community: Malnutrition Past, Present and Future
Date: Wednesday, September 12
Time: Noon to 1 p.m. (Central time)

Speaker Jacob Mey, PhD, RD, and Catherine Macpherson, MS, RDN, will share their expertise and latest science and research on malnutrition screening, diagnosis and treatment and transitions of care. This webinar series is being offered as a complementary educational opportunity for members and will earn 1.0 CPE for participation. Live attendance is limited to the first 1,000 registrants. Groups can participate using one registration and all those in attendance will receive CPEU.

@eatrightPRO Twitter Chat

Join the Academy and experts in adult and senior malnutrition on Thursday, September 13, at noon CST as we host a conversation that explores your ideas, opinions and suggestions for real-life solutions to this complex issue.

Learn more at FNCE®

For a complete listing of FNCE® sessions and details, visit the

  • Session 299. The Socioeconomics of Malnutrition: Food Insecurity Screening and Intervention, Sunday, October 21, from 3:30 - 5 p.m.
  • Session 138. Dietitians Leading Innovation: Using Data for Quality Improvement and Patient-Focused Transitions of Care, Monday, October 22, from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Session 396. Strategies to Improve Care Transition to Reduce Malnutrition, Tuesday, October 23, from 9:45 - 11:15 a.m.

Additional Training and Education Opportunities

Nutrition Focused Physical Exam Hands-on Training Workshop

The Academy offers the Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam in-person training workshop for registered dietitian nutritionists to accurately identify and nutrition diagnose for adult patients with, or at risk for, malnutrition. While a nutrition-focused physical exam is only one component of the nutrition assessment, it can provide necessary supportive data. Pocket guides for both pediatric and adult nutrition-focused physical exams are available in the

Access Past FNCE® Sessions

FNCE® attendees have complimentary 24/7 on-demand access to the recordings, PowerPoint presentations and printable handouts for all concurrent sessions (as released for inclusion) based on the year(s) and day(s) of verified attendance. Didn't attend FNCE®? Access to all recorded programs is available at a discounted member rate and can be purchased directly from the FNCE® On-Demand site.

  • Become an Institutional Leader of Change: Implementation of Malnutrition Electronic Clinical Quality Measure – Session 135 – FNCE® 2017
    A multi-disciplinary expert panel discuss the impact and opportunities of the Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative (MQii) and associated Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQMs).
  • Leading Malnutrition Quality Improvement for Better Hospital & Patient Outcomes – Session 132 – FNCE® 2016
    The session faculty will share the process and results of the Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative (MQii), a national multidisciplinary effort to address malnutrition
  • Accelerating Malnutrition Quality Improvement: The Role of the RDN and NDTR – Session 147 – FNCE® 2015
    Learn about the new Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative (MQii) as panelists discuss the anticipated contributions to the future quality of malnutrition care.

Looking for More Research?

Academy Foundation Heroes

Visit the Foundation's website to read more about members who have made significant contributions in the area of senior and adult malnutrition throughout their career.