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Councils urged to back anti-malnutrition campaign

Islington Council is the first UK local authority to sign up to a new campaign called ‘Mind the Hunger Gap’, aimed at highlighting the fact that at least a million elderly people are suffering from malnutrition.

The campaign has been launched by the British Dietetic Association (BDA), which calls the figure a “national disgrace” – and notes that it does not even include older people in hospitals or care homes.

The BDA says: “While The World Health Organization cites malnutrition as the greatest single threat to the world’s public health, it is still widely believed that malnutrition is restricted to the third world population. Quite simply, it is not.”

Leader of Islington Council, Cllr Catherine West, said: “It is a sad indictment on our society that too many older people are missing meals due to poverty or illness. I am firmly on the side of these people, who have been described as the ‘invisible’ population.

“In Islington we are determined to get to grips with this problem and are providing older people with access to healthy meals.

“We have frozen the price of our ‘Meals on Wheels’ and have kept open all of our day centres which host lunch clubs for older people. In 2010 we cancelled the Leader’s Christmas party to spend the money instead on a hot Christmas lunch for 100 pensioners – and we’ll be doing the same again in 2011.

“In addition we have increased funding for Help on your Doorstep an organisation which specifically works with isolated people and saved the Plus Bus, because we understand that older people will find it easier to access nutritious and affordable meals when they are connected to the wider community.

“I am delighted to support the BDA’s campaign and will work hard to close the hunger gap.”


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