Experts highlight the need for tailored nutrition support at ESPEN congress 2023

More than 4,000 global nutrition experts, healthcare professionals and academics are convening at the 45th Annual Congress of the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) in Lyon this week to discuss the potential of optimal nutrition to support people live healthily, as well as the latest developments in clinical nutrition research.

It is estimated that 33 million adults are malnourished, or at risk of disease-related malnutrition in Europe alone, with high-risk populations including cancer and stroke patients, and older adults1. This can be due to decreased food intake and / or increase nutritional requirements linked to the condition or disease2, which often lead to weight and muscle mass loss and ultimately, reduce quality of life.

Diverse needs in disease-related malnutrition

Patient journeys are diverse, and can depend on the condition or disease’s impact on the body, as well as eating problems or challenges people may experience.

For example, during cancer, patients may experience side effects from treatments, such as appetite loss or changes in taste3, leading to reduced food intake, with a domino effect of weight and muscle loss4, negatively affecting tolerance to treatment and patient outcomes5. In older people, disease-related malnutrition can manifest as muscle mass loss6, reducing body strength and walking speed, affecting overall activity and energy levels, and reaching as far as loss of independence. Patients who are recovering from critical illness, such as after a stroke or a major surgery, are often unable to get the nutrition they need through eating and drinking normally7.

For patients with cancer, critically ill patients, as well as older people, who can’t meet their nutritional needs through normal food alone, medical nutrition has been shown to improve clinical outcomes, such as reducing length of hospital stay, and thus positively impact patients’ quality of life8.

That said, it’s clear that there can’t be a “one size fits all” approach in helping diverse patients address their distinct needs. Patient-centric care and the opportunity to improve patient outcomes through tailored nutrition support sits at the core of Nutricia’s satellite symposium at the ESPEN congress on Tuesday, 12th September at 18:00 CEST, under the title “Hitting nutritional targets: No time to Lose! Bridging science into practice”. Bringing together leading international experts including Prof. Elisabeth De Waele, Associate Prof. Barry Laird, Dr. Irene Breton, Prof. Carel Meskers and Associate Prof. Lee-anne Chapple, the session illustrates the importance of tailored nutrition across oncology, recovery and rehabilitation, and critical care practice.

Highlighting the importance of the right nutritional care, Katrien van Laere, Danone’s Senior Vice-President Research & Innovation, Medical & Nutritional Science noted:

Knowing only 1 out of 3 patients receive the medical nutrition they need, we are proud to join leading experts in the field of nutrition at ESPEN and partner with them on providing ever better care. Science-based medical nutrition support should be an integral part of patient care and we are committed to supporting healthcare professionals and patients every step of the way.

Speaking to Nutricia’s long research and innovation heritage, it is spotlighting a few distinct evidence-based nutrition solutions for diverse patient needs and preferences at the ESPEN congress this year. This ranges from the latest innovation with oral nutritional supplements enriched with omega-3 fatty acids to target inflammation9 in cancer to tailored solutions that target muscle protein synthesis, and from Nutricia’s first-ever plant-based medical nutrition to the latest medical device technology for tube feedings.

  1. What is malnutrition. Available from: Accessed September 2023 
  2. Stratton et al. Oxon: CABI Publishing, 2003. 848 pp. ISBN 0 85199 648 5 
  3. Lindley et al. 1999 Cancer Pract, 7(2):59-65
  4. Ryan et al. Proc Nutr Soc. 2016 May;75(2):199-211
  5. Andreyev et al. Eur J Cancer. 1998 Mar;34(4):503-9 
  6. Van Kan. J Nutr Health Aging. 2009 Oct;13(8):708-12 
  7. Adapted from the Medical Nutrition Industry fact sheet. Available from: Accessed September 2023. 
  8. Medical Nutrition Industry. Available from: Accessed September 2023.
  9. Calder. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;75(3):645-62

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