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Malnutrition's Affect on Your Body

Your body naturally loses muscles and bone as you age; however, malnutrition can accelerate these losses and impace your independence and ability to be active.

Physical Body

  1. Mobility: Weak muscles and bones can make it harder to do everyday tasks like walking, dressing, and bathing. Regular physical activity and a diet high in protein, calcium, and vitamin D are critical to help you maintain and rebuild muscle and bone.
  2. Posture: Muscles and bones are needed to help keep you upright. If they are weak, you may strain your neck, back, and shoulder muscles causing you to feel pain.
  3. Strength: Poor muscle strength may make it more difficult to do your favorite activities.
  4. Falls: Bone and joint problems are major risk factors for falls. Falls are the leading cause of death and injury among older adults.

Immune System and Healing

  1. Healing: Your body's nutrition influences your recovery, since wounds need energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals to heal.
  2. Cancer: If you are malnourished, it is more difficult to tolerate chemotherapy.
  3. Illness: A poor immune system can increase your risk for illnesses and infections.


  1. Eyes: Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can accelerate vision loss caused by glaucoma, cataracts, and/or macular degeneration.
  2. Brain: Nutrient deficiencies may speed up the rate at which your brain loses neurons, which can impair your speech, coordination, and memory.
  3. Kidneys: A deficiency of fluids and electrolytes can cause your kidneys to overwork and affect their ability to function. This can lead to dehydration, joint pain, and heart issues.