Ten per cent of the elderly in Spain suffer from malnutrition, according to the Balearic College of Pharmacists, who warned of the high risk of undernourishment in the old because they often have difficulty in chewing, swallowing and digesting food. This is aggravated by illness, socio-economic problems, depression and mental deterioration. The College says that this leads to pensioners following a monotonous diet and they may even stop eating some foods, particularly meat, vegetables and fruit, which leads to an unbalanced diet. Poor eating habits have many repercussions such as high levels of sugar or fats in the blood, constipation, weight loss, debility and apathy, a greater risk of becoming ill or breaking bones, poor response to medication and slower recovery from illness. The College of Pharmacists, in collaboration with Novartis Consumer Health, recently held a meeting with pensioners' associations, offering advice about correct diet. College spokesman Bartomeu Llull said that chemists were ideally placed to give information about diet and identify the chief deficiencies the elderly suffer from. The report coincides with the announcement that the Spanish Basic and Applied Nutrition Society will be holding its third national congress in Palma from February 15 to 17. It will discuss topics such as the repercussions of the Mediterranean diet on health and will analyse the benefits of the consumption of products such as yoghurt, eggs and wine. It will be attended by leading experts from all over the country.