Test your malnutrition knowledge with this quick quiz

October 5, 2023
October 4, 2023
Four wooden blocks spelling out the word QUIZ sitting on a table

It’s a condition that not many of us know about in Australia, but malnutrition is something we should all be aware of. See how you go with our quiz.

1. The amount of older people with malnutrition or at risk of it within our communities is:

  1. up to 40%
  2. around 20%
  3. under 10%
  4. up to 35%

If you picked a) you’re spot on. This is why it’s so important to know this for your own how, and also to ensure you regularly check on older people you know or that are in your care.

2. Malnutrition can be caused by:

  1. loneliness and social isolation
  2. dental issues
  3. a reduction in taste or smell
  4. all of the above

The correct answer is d). And these are just a few of the many varied causes of malnutrition. Read this article which has more information.

3. Which of these is false:

  1. losing weight is not a normal part of ageing
  2. older people must eat three full meals a day
  3. you can still experience malnutrition if you’re overweight/obese if you’re not eating the right foods
  4. older people need more protein, calcium and vitamin D than younger adults

The false statement is b). Because while eating regular meals is key, and some people thrive on three meals a day, some can’t stomach (literally!) three big meals, so do better with smaller portions 6-8 times a day. It’s all about getting the right nutrients and enough protein, so it doesn’t matter how the meals are broken down. Read more about other malnutrition safeguards.

4. The impacts of malnutrition include:

  1. an increase in ‘geriatric syndromes’ including incontinence, sleep issues, cognitive impairment
  2. impaired immunity, wound and tissue healing
  3. increased likelihood of falls
  4. all of these

Yes, sadly, d) is the correct answer. The impacts of malnutrition can quickly steal independence and quality of life. Luckily it can be preventable.

5. What should you not do when it comes to safeguarding yourself or someone else from malnutrition:

  1. Make sure there’s access to a wide variety of protein and nutrient rich snacks – think cheese sticks, yoghurt, custard, carrot sticks, hearty tinned soups, bananas, baked beans.
  2. Assume tiredness and a little weight loss is down to getting older
  3. Check if any medications are causing issues with appetite or other issues like nausea, constipation or diarrhea
  4. Ensure regular dental appointments to maintain good oral health

The answer is b) of course – you shouldn’t just put that down to getting older


Be alert to signs of malnutrition which can include the below:

  1. unplanned weight loss - this might cause clothing, rings, watches or dentures to become loose
  2. tiredness/low energy levels
  3. reduction in ability to do everyday things like showering, getting dressed or cooking
  4. reduced muscle strength – as an example, not being able to walk as far or fast as usual
  5. lethargy and depression, mood swings
  6. poor concentration
  7. increased risk of infection, recurrent infections, taking longer to recover and poor wound healing
  8. difficulty keeping warm
  9. dizziness

If you’re concerned about yourself or someone else, read more about how our Allied Health Dietitians can help, and call BlueCare on 1300 258 322 to request additional information and support with accessing a Dietitian.

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