Mind the Hunger Gap National Campaign

Since it was launched in November 2011, The British Dietetic Association’s (BDA) Mind the Hunger Gap Campaign is helping to highlight the issue of malnutrition amongst older people living in the UK.

The first phase of the campaign involves calling on all dietitians in the UK to highlight the national disgrace that, conservatively estimated, involves around one million older people in the UK eating less than one square meal a day. This figure does not include those older people in a hospital or care setting, it is those older people living in our community or, as they have become, the ‘invisible’ population.

The Mind the Hunger Gap campaign calls for local and national support to highlight:

• Malnutrition costs over £13 billion across the UK. It is vital to protect current services, and extend provision to reduce these spiralling costs of care packages and readmissions.

• Protect at least one meal a day by ring-fencing funding for community meal provision at a local level.

• Dietitians have the expertise to lead the nutrition pathway across the whole health and social care system.

• Social isolation and fragmented services have left older people excluded and invisible. Food is a basic human
right and it’s everybody’s responsibility to stamp out starvation in their community.

• With social care budgets being devolved for local implementation, there is an opportunity now to plan and
promote collaborative solutions at a local level.

Speaking about the campaign, the Honorary Chairman of the BDA, Helen Davidson, said:  “Having enough to eat and drink is one of the most basic human needs, yet today in the UK older people living in their own homes are simply being forgotten about or are somehow not being picked up by the system as suffering from hunger’’.

The Mind the Hunger Gap campaign is primarily a dietitian-led online-based campaign.  Dietitians will highlight the issue of malnutrition locally, while the BDA will raise the issue on a national level.

Various materials and campaign tools areavailable to download from the campaign website(www.mindthehungergap.com).  There are also various tools that members of the public can use to add their support.

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