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The Netherlands

Reduce the occurrence and burden of malnutrition in the Netherlands

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Elke Naumann Communication Coordinator The Netherlands

Contact Elke for inquiries on Dutch campaign activities and for publishing of your Good Practice on this website.

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The Dutch Malnutrition Steering Group

The Dutch Malnutrition Steering Group is the national multidisciplinary knowledge centre for the awareness, prevention, identification and treatment of malnutrition.
As a result of various initiatives of the Malnutrition Steering Group, the last years have shown a clear decrease in the prevalence of malnutrition in the Netherlands. However, malnutrition is still a major problem and requires constant attention. This applies to both malnutrition in institutions and in the community.

Mission: to reduce the occurrence and burden of malnutrition in the Netherlands.
Our mission is to coordinate the collaboration between stakeholders and to initiate activities to reduce malnutrition, in particular in children, chronically and acutely ill and older persons.
Vision: the prevention and treatment of malnutrition are integrals part of the intra-, trans- and extramural health care in the Netherlands.

Key activities of the Dutch Malnutrition Steering Group

Connecting knowledge
The Malnutrition Steering Group brings together the knowledge of relevant partners, in order to coordinate and optimize the care around malnutrition.

Dissemination of knowledge into practice

The Dutch Malnutrition Steering Group initiates research and is a partner in (inter)national research. It translates research into practice in order to improve health care. Some examples:

  • To identify and treat malnutrition in time, an appropriate and valid screening tool for every health care sector was developed. The project ‘Early recognition and treatment of malnutrition’ has been implemented in hospitals, care institutions and primary care, and has won (inter)national awards. To ensure screening and treatment of malnutrition in the health care process, the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate included a performance indicator Screening and Treatment of Malnutrition for adults and children in the basic set of quality criteria for hospitals.
  • The quality of care around eating and drinking in 95% of all Dutch hospitals was explored. The results showed that there are major differences between hospitals.
  • An expert group Education has been established to disseminate knowledge and awareness about malnutrition among future health care professionals by embedding the topic of malnutrition in the medical curricula including nursing and other relevant programs.
  • An expert group of dietitians has been established to educate other health care professionals. These dietitians have been trained by the Dutch Malnutrition Steering Group and are available to give presentations, lectures, training courses and workshops. Moreover, knowledge is disseminated through publications in (inter)national scientific and professional journals, and in (social) media.
  • All information, (multidisciplinary) guidelines, presentations and tools on the website are freely available to everyone. The website has over 5000 visitors per month. The helpdesk assists healthcare professionals in early recognition and treatment of malnutrition in all health care sectors. 


Future priorities
Current and future projects will focus on the community-dwelling older persons. Through increased awareness and knowledge of malnutrition among community-dwelling senior citizens and caregivers, timely intervention and prevention of malnutrition becomes more likely. In addition, since length of stay in hospitals decreases, it is important to improve transmural nutritional care after discharge. Education remains important to increase awareness and knowledge among citizens and professionals in health and social care.

The Dutch Approach
Experience over the years has shown that there are several important steps related to successful implementation of actions to reduce prevalence of malnutrition.

The Dutch Approach in 10 steps

  1. A national multidisciplinary steering group with mandated key persons
  2. Up-to-date prevalence data to create and behold awareness
  3. Quick and easy screening tools with treatment plan
  4. Screening as a mandatory quality indicator
  5. Evidence based, validated tools and cost-effectiveness research
  6. Ministry of Health is key stakeholder
  7. Implementation projects in all care settings
  8. Toolkit with free accessible half fabricates and best practices
  9. Multidisciplinary project teams in all settings
  10. Training programs and workshops




We believe that sharing knowledge and expertise across Europe will help to reduce the problem of malnutrition both at national and international level. By sharing results, dilemmas and good practices we will be able to learn from each other.


Recent projects

Healthy Nutrition for Healthy Ageing

The aim of this project was to increase awareness about (risk of) malnutrition in community-dwelling older adults.


Project website

“When I asked my parents what they had organized to keep living at home, they said: two daughters!”

Quote by Older Adult

Within the project:

  • A website was created for and with community-dwelling older adults and their informal caregivers. The website contains self-screening tools and information about malnutrition.
  • Dietitians were trained to educate health professionals in primary care to increase awareness about malnutrition in their clients/patients. This resulted in an expert group of about 100 dietitians in the Netherlands that are specifically trained to educate health professionals. Materials to support this education are available on the website and free to use.
  • A template for education of community older adults and their informal care givers was created. Dietitians and health care professionals trained by dietitians from the expert group can carry out this education.