Celebrating Nutrition and Hydration Week for all round health

Great pleasure can come from indulging in our favourite foods, whether with friends, family or alone.

But what of those for whom food is less about joy and more about struggle; where accessing food and drink can be difficult and where every day is a battle to ensure you are fuelling your body with what it needs to survive, let alone, thrive.

Highlighting, promoting and celebrating nutrition

Nutrition and Hydration Week is an annual event which this year is being held 11th – 17th March 2019. It aims to highlight, promote and celebrate the strides forward in how nutrition is provided, locally, nationally and globally. It is focused on bringing people together, across the Health and Social Care sectors, around the World, to promote and show the value of good nutrition for health and well-being.

From Bedford to Bridgnorth and from Southampton to Salford, social media has been bustling with activity this week showcasing ‘Global Tea Party’s’, ‘Thrilling Thursdays’, where people from all over the world are encouraged to try something new; to showing the importance of good hydration and nutrition for breastfeeding Mums.

10 key characteristics of good nutrition and hydration care

NHS England has 10 ‘Key characteristics of good nutrition and hydration care’. Resonating loud and clear within these is a call to collaborate, to work across multi-disciplinary teams and crucially, with the service user or patient, to ensure hydration and nutrition is integrated to health and well-being and not seen as a ‘nice to have’ add-on.

A survey in 2008 by The British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition found that almost a third of people residing in care homes and those over 65 in hospital, were malnourished. Work has been undertaken since then to begin to address this, but the need for better education and identification of those at risk of malnutrition outside of residential settings has also been identified.

This can serve to both prevent admissions and lead to earlier discharges. NHS England, NHS Wales and NHS Scotland, have all published various pathways and plans, but why are nutrition and hydration so important? We know it has a role in:

  • Preventing malnutrition and associated health implications
  • Preventing obesity and the health risks attached to that
  • Affecting many areas of mental and physical ill health and disease
  • Reducing the financial cost to Health and Social Care provision

Nutrition for wellbeing

But above all, good, safe, accessible, affordable nutrition and hydration, can all contribute to your well-being, self-care, enjoyment of life and to making you feel energised. It also has a role in Social Prescribing. It is therefore beholden on all of those across the Health and Care sector, to use every contact with a service user or patient, to identify issues and promote the role of food and drink, to overall health.

As Virginia Woolf said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”.

Want to learn how we can help your practice with Social Prescribing?

Take a look at our new programme to get your Social Prescribing plans off the ground.