MappMal: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Prevention of Malnutrition

Four in ten people over the age of 65 are at risk of becoming malnourished or of their condition worsening in hospital. This leads to an increased risk of complications and longer hospital stays. Furthermore, the toll of the high rate of malnutrition on healthcare costs is estimated at more than £7.3 billion a year. Half of this is spent on those over the age of 65.

Previous campaigns to tackle malnutrition have tended to focus on only one contributing factor and, while successfully drawing attention to some important issues surrounding malnutrition, have not been able to fully solve the problem. MappMal recognises that a successful approach will address the many different factors that can contribute to malnourishment simultaneously. The aim of this project is to consider every aspect of the food’s journey, from production to consumption, to develop a prototype for a new food provision system for older people in hospital that is multidisciplinary and user participative.

Digital Interaction is looking specifically at the monitoring of nutritional intake. Current methods of evaluation require a dietician to make estimations, do not provide detailed information about the energy, protein and nutrients consumed, and enable small issues to be missed that can cause health problems later on. We are therefore developing an interactive application (portion-size estimation) that will accurately calculate and provide detailed information about the nutritional intake of patients. It can be used easily by hospital staff at the end of every meal, ensuring that a patient’s nutritional intake is being communicated to the application as soon as they have eaten the food and enormously decreasing the likelihood of anything being missed.

See also: Portion Size Estimation
See the MappMal project website.

Date: Oct 2008 – Sept 2011

Funding: ESRC – (New Dynamics of Ageing Programme) £446,943

Researchers: Paula Moynihan (PI) – Institute for Ageing & Health. Patrick Olivier, and Carl May (CIs).
Jack Weeden, Robert ComberClaire Bamford, Ben Heaven – Institute of Health and Society.

Collaborators: 
Alan Bell, Carol Fairfield, Yiannis Mavromattis, Clare Payne, Lisa Methven, Margot Gosney (University of Reading).
Martin Maguire (University of Loughborough).
Alastair Macdonald, Gemma Teal (Glasgow School of Art).