Malnutrition in the Elderly Knowledge Hub

The Joint Action "Malnutrition in the Elderly Knowledge Hub" (MaNuEL) is part of the Strategic Research Agenda of the Joint Programming Initiative "A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life". MaNuEL is a consortium of 22 research groups from 7 countries (Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands en New Zealand). MaNuEL started on March 1, 2016 and has obtained funding for two years.

General project objectives

1. Knowledge gain

MaNuEL intends to summarize presently available and extend scientific knowledge regarding the definition, prevalence, effective screening and aetiology of malnutrition in older persons and regarding effective interventions to prevent and treat malnutrition in older persons in different health care settings across Europe. Thus, MaNuEL will complete the present fragmentary picture on malnutrition and will identify knowledge gaps, which have to be addressed in future projects.

2. Strengthen evidence-based best practice

MaNuEL will translate scientific knowledge into effective evidence-based strategies and derive recommendations regarding screening and identification of persons who will benefit from nutritional interventions. The project will also contribute to the identification of effective nutritional interventions. Finally, it will suggest validated methods for future assessment of determinants of malnutrition and raise awareness for different needs of specific subgroups of older persons.

3. Capacity building

MaNuEL will develop a productive and sustainable competence network of researchers from various countries with complementary expertise in the field of malnutrition in older persons. It will support transnational communication, collaboration and coordination between individual researchers, research groups, European research organisations and other stakeholders, and thus contribute to a common understanding as basis for future collaboration and better comparability of work.

4. Harmonisation

MaNuEL will promote harmonisation of screening and assessment of malnutrition in older persons in current practice as well as future research. It will also stimulate harmonisation of clinical practice, policies and education with regard to malnutrition. Furthermore, harmonisation of data collection, databases and data analyses will already take place within MaNuEL, but will also serve as an important basis for future collaborative projects. These harmonisation efforts will allow better comparability of future research on malnutrition in European countries.


MaNuEL is built on five interconnected malnutrition work packages (WP 1-5) and one management WP (WP6).


The specific objectives of MaNuEL to be addressed in the different work packages are to:

  1. Develop a definition of treatable malnutrition;
  2. Compile data on the prevalence of treatable malnutrition from existing studies;
  3. Provide insight into the body composition characteristics of those with treatable malnutrition;
  4. Obtain an overview based on published literature on existing screening tools for malnutrition in older adults;
  5. Select preferred malnutrition screening tools for older adults in different community and health care setting;
  6. Obtain malnutrition prevalence data in older adults across Europe (and beyond) based on these preferred screening tools;
  7. Identify key determinants of (treatable) malnutrition;
  8. Develop a list of reliable and valid instruments to measure these determinants;
  9. Obtain an overview on the effects of non-pharmacological interventions on malnutrition;
  10. Obtain an overview on on-going and planned studies on non-pharmacological interventions;
  11. Obtain an overview on current policies and practice across Europe regarding screening and treatment of malnutrition in older persons in different health care settings;
  12. Obtain an overview on formal education of health care professionals across Europe regarding screening and treatment of malnutrition in older persons.


MaNuEL is coordinated by two co-KH coordinators: Dorothee Volkert (Germany) and Marjolein Visser (the Netherlands). In addition, leaders and co-leaders for the different work packages have been appointed. Its stakeholder advisory board includes 5 malnutrition experts and representatives of relevant European Societies.


MaNuEL is funded by national funding organisations from Austria, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands (approximately 1.1 million Euro) and by in kind contributions from the participating research groups (approximately 0.8 million Euro).

Download the factsheet of MaNuEL


Contact details of coordinators

Contact details of JPI HDHL Joint Action secretariat
ZonMw(NL),Wilke van Ansem,

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