Recently a lot of attention has been drawn to the taking in of too many calories, which undoubtedly leads to negative effects on health, But the opposite problem is just as topical. Malnutrition is a situation where a protein deficiency, a lack of energy and deficiency of other nutrients leads to visible changes in body mass and tissue. And these consequences have an adverse effect on health and on your future prognosis. What are the causes of malnutrition? One takes in insufficient amounts of energy in one’s diet, insufficient amounts of protein. The reasons for this are varied. This can be a result of poverty. It could be a physical inability to go and buy food, prepare meals. The cause could be a difficulty in swallowing when you can’t swallow normal food. This could be caused by depression, apathy, a distinct loss of appetite and many other reasons. The other cause – a person has sufficient caloric intake but calories are not absorbed. And this may have many causes. Most frequently these are problems with the digestive tract following a bowel operation, following a serious bowel illness. In situations when there is a serious illness in the body the inflammatory process is activated and catabolism occurs. Primarily this is a breaking-down [of molecules] and the body loses body mass, loses mostly muscle mass but later this may also affect the internal organs. And the other important thing is that there are changes to one’s immunity and a resistance to all types of infection, recovery time is longer you need to use antibiotics more frequently and there is a higher mortality rate. So I must stress that there must be more focus on the elderly and not only old and sick people, but also people who live alone, who live by themselves or in social welfare institutions. It is very easy to recognise the risks of malnutrition. You need to find out if the person has lost weight. If you lose more than 10 % of your body weight this is already dangerous. You should find out if the person has been eating less than normal, over the past week or month. By simply asking if they eat half or less than half of the usual amount. Then you calculate the body mass index, which is the proportion of height to weight. It is important that in this situation you should take note of people with illnesses if their body mass index is below 22, which for others would be normal, but for the elderly – below 20. So if a person with an illness is eating less, losing weight and is over 70, then you should definitely take note of this and they require help. You can fight malnutrition!