TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, an independently-elected member of the Florida Cabinet, issued a cabinet proclamation recognizing October 5th to October 9th as Malnutrition Awareness Week in Florida.
“Malnutrition is a growing crisis in our nation, which continues to be exacerbated by economic disparities, food insecurity, and the COVID-19 pandemic,” shared Commissioner Nikki Fried. “I’m proud to proclaim this week as Malnutrition Awareness Week in the state of Florida. It’s crucial that we raise awareness and help educate Floridians on the dangers of malnutrition and its devastating impact on children, adults, and especially the elderly.”
Malnutrition Awareness Week is a national multi-organization campaign aimed at educating consumers on the importance of good nutrition, early detection and treatment of malnutrition, and encouraging Americans to discuss their nutritional status with healthcare professionals.
“Patients with malnutrition are more likely to experience longer hospital stays, higher hospital costs, and higher in-patient deaths,” stated Ainsley Malone, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) Clinical Specialist and Nutrition Support Dietitian. “Malnutrition is a largely preventable and treatable disease — that’s why ASPEN started Malnutrition Awareness Week in 2012. We are delighted that Commissioner Fried has proclaimed October 5 – 9 as Malnutrition Awareness Week.”
Click here to view Commissioner Fried’s Malnutrition Awareness Week video.
“For all their sacrifices and love shared, we must dedicate a higher level of priority on protecting our seniors, who are more at risk of malnutrition than other age groups,” said Dona Greenwood, Chair of the Florida Malnutrition Work Group. “Nutritional status has been referred to as a vital marker of older adult health — it helps improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs, and improve overall quality of life. As our population ages, we have a responsibility to protect our seniors and ensure they have access to healthy, nutritious meals.”
Background: Commissioner Fried has been dedicated to addressing hunger and nutritional issues in Florida. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is the state agency that administers nutritional programs such as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Food Recovery Program and Florida’s school lunch program, all of which provide healthy, nutritious meals to children and families across the state.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, FDACS and Commissioner Fried moved swiftly to ensure children had nutritious meals available during sudden school closures, quickly approving over 4,200 feeding locations that served over 72 million meals from March through July, and activating the 2-1-1 phone and text line where Floridians could find free meals for kids. FDACS also helps feed Floridians in need through programs like The Emergency Food Assistance Program, which helps distribute food to low-income seniors. Recently, FDACS launched a $100,000 Walmart Foundation grant project to fight food insecurity in rural communities and supported legislation for a $500,000 grant to enhance food recovery from farms to food banks.