What is Malnutrition?

Malnutrition, also called undernutrition or disease-related malnutrition, is a condition where patients are not getting the right nutrition in the right amount to sustain their health. Malnutrition occurs when patients are not able to meet their nutritional needs via the normal diet due to diseases, ageing and/or side-effects of medical treatment (e.g. cancer). 

Malnutrition is a condition that affects 33 million people in Europe.

Malnutrition can affect everyone, including:

  •  1 in 3 patients in care homes
  •  1 in 3 older people living independently
  • 1 in 4 patients in hospitals
  • 1 in 3 cancer patients

Malnutrition is associated with higher complications rate and risk of infections, longer hospital stays and increased mortality.

Malnutrition costs an estimated €170 billion a year to European countries.

Below you can find an MNI Infographic that summarises the prevalence, consequences, and estimated costs of malnutrition and it highlights recommendations to tackle it.


Infographic "Malnutrition: A condition that affects 33 million people"

Factsheet "Medical Nutrition: what it is and why it matters"

Malnutrition – another weight problem?

This short film – promoted jointly by MNI, EHNA and ESPEN - draws attention to the under-recognized problem of disease-related malnutrition arguing that it should feature higher on the public health agenda. The implications of malnutrition are highlighted, as well as the importance of screening.

The video shows that medical nutrition helps to fight malnutrition and can also lower use of healthcare resources and costs associated with managing patients with malnutrition.