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Death: Nutrition

Volume 492: debated on Tuesday 12 May 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many deaths from malnutrition and the effects of hunger there have been in settings other than hospitals and private and public care homes in each Government Office region since 1997. (273544)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated May 2009:

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths from malnutrition and the effects of hunger there have been in settings other than hospitals and private and public care homes in each Government Office region since 1997. (273544)

Malnutrition may be recorded as the underlying cause of death, but this is a rare occurrence. The ‘effects of hunger’, as the effects of malnutrition may be reported on a death certificate, is never recorded as the underlying cause of death, because it is defined by the International Classification of Diseases as a ‘secondary cause’ only. Consequently, deaths with any mention of either of these causes on the death certificate are reported together.

The attached tables provide the numbers of deaths in settings other than hospitals and private and public care homes where (a) malnutrition was the underlying cause of death (Table 1), and (b) malnutrition or ‘effects of hunger’ was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate (Table 2), for persons resident in each government office region in England, for the years 1998 to 2007 (the latest year available). Table 2 includes deaths where malnutrition was a complication of the underlying cause (for example cancer of the stomach) in addition to deaths where it was reported as the underlying cause.

Table 1. Deaths in settings other than hospitals and care homes where malnutrition was the underlying cause of death1, persons resident in Government office regions in England2, 1997 to 20073

Deaths (persons)

Government office region

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

North East

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

2

Northwest

0

0

0

1

1

0

2

3

3

1

1

Yorkshire and the Humber

3

1

2

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

2

East Midlands

0

2

0

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

2

West Midlands

2

4

2

1

3

1

2

1

2

1

2

East of England

1

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

1

1

2

London

2

1

1

4

2

0

1

2

1

1

4

South East

1

3

1

1

0

1

0

0

2

2

0

South West

4

7

3

1

2

1

1

2

1

0

1

1 Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes 260-269 (malnutrition) for the years 1997 to 2000, and the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes E40-E46 (malnutrition) for 2001 onwards. The introduction of ICD-10 in 2001 means that the numbers of deaths from each cause before 2001 are not completely comparable with later years.

2 Based on boundaries as of 2009.

3 Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

Table 2. Deaths in settings other than hospitals and care homes where malnutrition or effects of hunger were mentioned on the death certificate1, persons resident in Government office regions in England2, 1997 to 20073

Deaths (persons)

Government office region

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

North East

1

4

2

2

2

2

1

4

4

2

2

Northwest

6

2

4

2

4

2

5

4

9

7

5

Yorkshire and the Humber

3

5

6

3

2

2

3

2

2

2

4

East Midlands

4

3

4

4

2

2

2

3

1

5

5

West Midlands

14

12

11

6

11

3

4

6

3

5

5

East of England

6

4

8

3

5

5

3

3

2

7

8

London

12

7

10

7

3

1

6

2

3

6

5

South East

4

6

6

8

2

3

5

4

6

7

6

South West

23

22

9

5

5

2

5

9

7

4

2

1 Cause of death was defined using the international Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes 260-269 (malnutrition) and E904.1 (effects of hunger) for the years 1997 to 2000, and the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes E40-E46 (malnutrition) and T73.0 (effects of hunger) for 2001 onwards. Deaths were included where one of these causes was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate. The introduction of ICD-10 in 2001 means mat the numbers of deaths from each cause before 2001 are not completely comparable with later years.

2 Based on boundaries as of 2009.

3 Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.