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Malnutrition: Does history repeats itself?

health and YOUR petrol meter

What can be learned from history and smoking?

Research shows that just over a third of General Practitioners do not see malnutrition as a significant problem today. It reveals huge variations in awareness and treatment by General Practitioners and low use of diagnostic tools.

Does history repeats itself?

In 1950, 82 percent of 35- to 59-year-old men smoked. By 1998, their smoking rate had dropped to 36 percent and their lung cancer death rate declined steeply during that period in the U.K. In 1964, the Surgeon General's report announced medical research showing that smoking was a definite cause of cancers.

Statistics indicate that more than 12 million Americans have died from smoking since the 1964 report of the surgeon general, and another 25 million Americans alive today will most likely die of a smoking-related illness.

Doctors were said to represent the main source of advice mentioned by smokers when asked how they would get help to quit.

Advice General Practitioners?
Are general practitioners the key resource in the delivery of preventative care? The British Medical Journal raised this question back in 1995; “Should medical students who smoke be channeled away from primary care?”

This consideration concerns doctors' roles and, many would add, responsibilities as exemplars. An Australian study of smokers from low sociol economic groups found that half of them agreed with the statement that; "a lot of doctors smoke." and "Why should I stop smoking when plenty of doctors don't?"

Another consideration is whether smoking by doctors inhibits any of them from counseling patients about smoking.

Cause and consequence?
While smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease, costing us too many lives, too many dollars / Euros and too many tears. Malnutrition might be the second cause of death and diseases in the Western society fueled by: poor processed food quality, food additives, pesticides, air and water pollution, stress, medication, smoking, alcohol and many lifestyle habits.

New research
Very few General Practitioners are aware of the availability of malnutrition screening tools and fewer than 4% make use of them. It also reveals that 40% of General Practitioners never provide dietary advice to patients at risk of malnutrition prior to an elective admission to hospital. This is despite the fact that studies have shown up to 60% of in-patients in hospitals to be at medium or high risk of malnutrition, with between 10% and 40% shown in studies to be suffering from malnutrition when they enter hospital.

Abundant eating and still having malnutrition?
A test, you can do yourself. Ask anybody: “Do you eat healthy?”

The answer won’t surprise me, eighty percent will say: “Yes!” It is however more the other way around and most doctors don’t know a thing about it. Missing opportunities, both from a health and economical standpoint.
-Henk Mutsaers

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