According to the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, some three million people in the UK are suffering from malnutrition, or are at risk of becoming malnourished. The problem costs the UK taxpayer £13 billion a year.
According to the data, those most at risk of malnutrition was the elderly and it also found that other factors playing key roles in malnourishment were isolation and poverty. Malnourishment means more visits to a GP and longer stays in hospital.
Help the Aged spokesperson Pamela Holmes said: "Social workers, community nurses, GPs and other health professionals need to be educated and trained to spot and treat the signs of malnutrition."