This weekend's Food Festival 2019 in Aarhus had not only samples of food but also a serious political topic on the menu. In a new "Health and Sustainability" tent at the festival experts and head politicians debated undernutrition in elderly citizens and patients. 

Debate on undernutrition at Food Festival in Aarhus 2019px.jpg

Debate in a tent at the yearly Food Festival i Aarhus. For the first time undernutrition in elderly was given a special focus. Foto: Rune Borre-Jensen, Central Denmark Region 

In the health-tent at the food festival there was a one and a half hour dialogue on issues causing and preventing undernutrition in the elderly. 

It is a complex challenge as a lot of things can lead to undernutrition - both physical, mentally and socially. Many stated that this area lacks documentation and research. 

Some fact were mentioned: 

  • 42 pct. of elderly citizens in assisted living facilities experience a weightloss in a six month period.
  • 43 pct. of the elderly patients in geriatric departments loose weight during hospitalisation. 
  • In Denmark, the estimated expenses due to consequences of undernutrition in elderly adds up to six billion Danish Kroner (DKK) a year. (For instance more homecare, visits at local practitioner, readmissions to hospitals, longer hospitalisation etc.)

The debate panel was: Chairman in Central Denmark Region Anders Kühnau, Mayor of Aarhus Municipality Jacob Bundsgaard, member of Kost- og Ernæringsforbundet Birgitte Vang Hansen, Associated Professor at Aarhus University Susanne Højlund and Managing Director of Madkulturen Judith Kyst.