The importance of maintaining a healthy dietary intake and exercise has been advocated within nursing and society. Careful monitoring and promotion of adequate nutritional input are an essential part of the nurse’s role to promote recovery and prevent additional problems for the patient. Nutrition is essential for the functional maintenance and survival of cells. During periods of ill health, an individual’s daily requirements can double. Another ‘at-risk’ group is the ageing population. Malnutrition is the state in which there is a deficiency in energy, protein and other essential nutrients, causing adverse effects on body tissue, function and composition. Disorders that have been linked to poor nutritional intake can include: cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Conducting a comprehensive nutritional assessment and ensuring that the patient’s nutritional needs are met is very much part of the nurse’s role. Nurses should work in collaboration with a nutritionist.