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Malnutrition Facts and Figures

Here are some key numbers for two groups susceptible to malnutrition, or a diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess or in the wrong proportions. Malnutrition can lead to long-term health problems.

  • 80 percent of people 65 and older suffer from chronic diseases and conditions, many of which are associated with malnutrition.
  • 35 to 50 percent of older residents at long-term care facilities are malnourished.
  • Nearly 50 percent of the nation’s poor elderly have lost all their natural teeth. Chewing and swallowing problems are associated with malnutrition.
  • In the U.S., the rate of obesity for children and adolescents age 2 to 19 is 16.9 percent and for adults 65 and older more than 25 percent.*
  • 15.9 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2012, which are homes without adequate access to nutritious foods.
  • At 27.4 percent, North Carolina is tied with Louisiana as states with the highest percentage of children younger than 5 who are food insecure on a regular basis.

* Obesity is defined for adults as a body mass index (a measure of weight compared to height) greater than or equal to 30.

Sources: National Aging Information Center, Feeding America, U.S. 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Avoiding Malnutrition

Avoiding Malnutrition

Learn some tips on how to avoid malnutrition for children and seniors.

Last Updated: 04-14-2016
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