People are far more likely to go hungry in an NHS hospital than in a prison, researchers have said.
This is despite prisons spending less per person on meals than hospitals do.
Experts from Bournemouth University have been studying the food offered to inmates and across the NHS.
They believe hospital patients face barriers in getting good nutrition, including not receiving assistance with eating and nobody monitoring if they are well fed.
Professor John Edwards said around 40% of patients going into hospital were already malnourished but this situation did not tend to improve while there.
"If you are in prison then the diet you get is extremely good in terms of nutritional content," he went on.
"The food that is provided is actually better than most civilians have.
"There's a focus on carbohydrates, then there's the way they prepare the food, it's very healthy.
"They don't add salt and there's relatively little frying of food - if you have a burger then it goes in the oven.
"Hospital patients don't consume enough. If you are using food as a means of treatment then it's not working."Reuse content