Background: Malnutrition in older people is an increasing health problem, mainly due to the changes in demographics in developed countries. It is associated with serious functional and health problems, which affect well-being and quality of life of the individual but also increase costs and burden for our healthcare systems.
Objectives: In order to tackle the increasing problem of malnutrition (i.e. protein-energy malnutrition) in the older population, the Joint Action “Malnutrition in the Elderly (MaNuEL) Knowledge Hub” was launched as part of the Strategic Research Agenda of the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) 'A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (HDHL)'.
Methods: MaNuEL is a consortium of 22 research groups from 7 countries (Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and New Zealand) that is advised by a stakeholder board of experts in geriatric nutrition. Five interconnected work packages focus on defining treatable malnutrition, screening of malnutrition in different settings, determinants, prevention and treatment of malnutrition, and policies and education regarding malnutrition screening and treatment in older persons across Europe. Systematic reviews and secondary data analyses are performed to describe the present fragmentary picture on malnutrition and to identify potential knowledge gaps. Dissemination and implementation of results relevant for clinical practice will take place through publications in scientific journals, presentations at scientific congresses as well as reports and recommendations which will be distributed to relevant national and international organisations. To support clinical practice, a toolbox containing relevant information about screening for malnutrition in different settings based on valid screening tools, and the most effective prevention and treatment strategies for malnutrition in older persons, will be made available on the HDHL website.
Conclusions: MaNuEL aims to extend scientific knowledge, to strengthen evidence-based practice in the management of malnutrition in older persons, and to build a transnational competent network of experts for future harmonised research and clinical practice.