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Weight loss in older people a red flag

Press Association logoPress Association 13/03/2017 Jane Kirby

Millions of older people could be putting their health at risk by thinking it is normal to lose weight without trying as they age, experts have warned.

A survey for the Malnutrition Task Force in the UK found 36 per cent of over-60s think it is fine to lose weight with age, while 75 per cent have never worried about themselves or another older person unintentionally losing weight.

But the task force, which is made of experts from health, social care and local government, says losing weight can be an early warning sign of malnutrition or another serious condition, such as cancer, dementia or liver disease.

It stressed getting thinner is not a normal part of ageing.

Signs and symptoms of malnutrition include tiredness, low energy, dizziness and getting repeated infections.

Lesley Carter, lead for the Malnutrition Task Force Lead, said: "The risk of becoming undernourished increases significantly as people age and it is further complicated by the incorrect assumption within society that losing weight is a normal part of the ageing process, when it fact should actually raise alarm bells.

"We all know that obesity causes serious health problems but there are also serious health consequences for older people who are at the other end of the scale and don't eat enough."

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