In order to clamp down on malnutrition within the NHS in England, the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) has called on health secretary Andrew Lansley to collaborate on the issue.
The body said a national malnutrition and hydration strategy is required, rather than just improved standards of hospital food.
BAPEN said it wants to see this apply to all areas of nutritional provision within the social care sector and the NHS.
Based upon its own research, the group said that malnutrition is not a trivial problem and is not simply caused by inadequate hospital food.
Its honorary secretary, Dr Ailsa Brotherton, said: “There is a clear need for system-wide approaches and improvement to detect malnutrition early in both community and acute settings and to ensure that individuals who are ‘at risk’ receive appropriate nutritional care.”
She added that a national clinical director for malnutrition is required within the NHS to focus on a nutrition and hydration strategy.