Leeds support for national focus on good nutrition
Leeds pledged its support for the first ever national Nutrition Day this week, which aimed to raise awareness of the importance of good nutritional care, including hydration, in social and healthcare settings throughout the UK.
Organised by the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), the day focused on providing vital advice and guidance to health and social professionals to help in their work to prevent under nutrition and dehydration.
The aim of the day was to illustrate how, by making positive changes to eating and drinking habits, people can improve their quality of life. It also highlighted to professionals and staff within social and healthcare settings the importance of the role they play in helping to reduce malnutrition-related illnesses that often require complex treatments, prolong recovery periods, delay hospital discharges and increase NHS costs.
Nutrition Day was an opportunity to promote good practice in nutrition and hydration across health and social care settngs in Leeds, as well as highlighting key characteristics for good nutritional care and promoting nutrition advocates.
The Leeds Older People Matter Food Group are launching their Eat Well campaign on 25 March, and this will highlight the risks of malnutrition that affect approximately 16,500 older people in the city.
Council community support staff have been attending nutrition and hydration awareness training to help them spot the signs of dehydration and malnutrition when they are out caring for older people.
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive board member for health and wellbeing said:
“Good nutrition and hydration is essential to people’s general health and well-being, and plays a vital part in preventing illness, especially in the very young and very old.
"National Nutrition Day has provided a great platform to promote good nutrition, and also to remind people how much food and fluid is required on a daily basis.
“The council takes on responsibility for public health from 1 April, and we are absolutely committed to working with the NHS and our other partners across the city to ensure that we will identify and take positive steps to help people in Leeds who are vulnerable and at risk of becoming malnourished.”
Leeds Older People Matter Food Group received an award at the National Association for Care Catering Awards in 2012 in recognition of its contribution to promoting good hydration and wellbeing to older people. The campaign aims to ensure older people in the city are drinking between six and eight drinks per day at regular intervals, to reduce the risk of dehydration.
Dehydration is a major issue for older people, with nearly £2 million being spent in Leeds in 2009 admitting people to hospital with symptoms of the condition. In 2010/11, urinary tract infections cost services almost £5 million.
The Leeds campaign offers a resource pack for front-line health and social care workers to use to help them raise the importance of keeping hydrated to service users. People with dementia are given fridge magnets and marker pens to help them remember how many drinks they have had each day.
For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578