Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Malnutrition

Malnutrition can occur when a person's body is not getting enough nutrients. It can result from a poor or unbalanced diet, digestive difficulties, absorption problems or other medical conditions.

Malnutrition can lead to:

Follow the links below to find trusted information about malnutrition. 

Sources:

Mayo Clinic (Senior health: How to prevent and detect malnutrition)

Last reviewed: July 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 93 results

Is malnutrition an issue in Australia? Dietitians Association of Australia

Is malnutrition an issue in Australia? Malnutritionis a major public health issue in Australia

Read more on Dietitians Association of Australia website

Malnutrition who is at risk and things to consider Dietitians Association of Australia

Malnutrition who is at risk and things to consider Malnutrition occurs over time if someone does not meet their nutritional needs

Read more on Dietitians Association of Australia website

Malnutrition - Lab Tests Online AU

The word "malnutrition"literally means bad nutrition. The body needs a certain amount of food and other nutrients to function, and a person who does not receive the required amount of food and nutrients is said to be malnourished. Malnutrition can be caused by undernutrition (when the body receives less food and nutrients than it needs) or overnutrition (when the body receives more food and nutrients than it needs).

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Dangers for adolescents

Because the period of adolescence is one of rapid growth and development, eating disorders are particularly dangerous for this age group as nutrition deficiency and malnutrition can interfere with crucial developments.

Read more on Eating Disorders Victoria website

PARENTERAL NUTRITION POCKETBOOK: FOR ADULTS

Parenteral nutrition (PN) refers to the intravenous infusion of specialised nutrition solution. This method of feeding may be required when the gastrointestinal tract is not functional or leaking, cannot be accessed, or the patient cannot be adequately nourished by oral or enteral means. In NSW, there are major variations in the way PN is administered in public hospitals.

Read more on ACI - Agency for Clinical Innovation website

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a disorder characterised by a relentless desire to lose weight despite obvious malnutrition.

Read more on WA Health website

Sweat test - Lab Tests Online AU

When a newborn or infant has symptoms that suggest CF, such as frequent respiratory infections and chronic cough, persistent diarrhoea, foul-smelling bulky greasy stools and malnutrition; and as a follow-up, confirmatory test to help diagnose CF

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Cystic fibrosis - Lab Tests Online AU

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a relatively common inherited disease in which from infancy there are recurrent chest infections causing lung damage, intestinal malabsorption leading to severe malnutrition and growth failure, and there is an excess of salt in the sweat. Untreated, the condition is usually fatal in infancy or early childhood. With treatment, the average life expectancy of people who live to adulthood is about 37 years and this is increasing.

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Coeliac disease - Lab Tests Online AU

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune diseasecharacterised by an inappropriate immune response to gluten. Gluten is aprotein found in wheat, similar proteins are found in barley and rye and to a lesser extent in oats.This response leads to inflammation of the small intestine and to damage and destruction of the villi that line the intestinal wall. The villi are projections, small tissue folds that increase the surface area of the intestine and allow nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fluids, and electrolytes to be absorbed into the body. When a susceptible person is exposed to gluten, their body produces autoantibodies that act against constituents of the intestinal villi. As long as the person continues to be exposed to the proteins, they will continue to produce these autoantibodies. When villi are damaged or destroyed, the body is much less capable of absorbing food including iron and vitamins. They may begin to develop symptoms associated with malnutrition and malabsorption. Malnutrition causes weight loss in adults and growth delay and failure to gain weight in children. Malabsorption causes diarrhoea and foul smelling bowel motions that float and have a greasy appearance because of the unabsorbed fats and oils in them.

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Prealbumin - Lab Tests Online AU

If your doctor suspects you are malnourished because of poor diet, HIV or an eating disorder; if you are about to be admitted to the hospital for surgery; if are hospitalised with certain diseases; or if you are having parenteral nutrition or kidney dialysis

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback