Prevalence of Malnutrition
A Growing Concern in Latin American Hospitals
Studies indicate a high prevalence of disease-related malnutrition in hospital patients around the world. According to the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition one in four patients is at risk of malnutrition.1,2,3,4,5,6,7 The prevalence of disease-related malnutrition is very high in Latin America, with up to 50 percent of hospital patients being identified as malnourished.8,9,10,11,12,13
Disease-Related Malnutrition Affects Patients of All Ages
The prevalence of disease-related malnutrition is not restricted to one health care setting or one category of patient; it affects patients of all ages.14 Malnutrition and the risk of malnutrition are common in many hospital wards, including:15
- Internal medicine
Prevalence of Disease-Related Malnutrition Across Latin America
Several studies have reported data regarding the prevalence of disease-related malnutrition in different patient categories in Latin America. The Latin American Nutrition Study (ELAN, Estudio Latino Americano de Nutrición) cross-sectional, multicenter epidemiologic study used the Subjective Global Assessment (SGA) tool to determine the prevalence of disease-related malnutrition in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Uruguay. More than 50 percent of patients were found to be malnourished, with over 11 percent of this group being considered severely malnourished.8
Additional studies indicated similar prevalence rates of disease-related malnutrition in Brazil:
- 58 percent of colorectal surgery patients13
- 54 percent of ICU patients9
- 48 percent of mixed hospital patients15
- 44 percent of gastric cancer patients11
This data reveals a growing need to address disease-related malnutrition in Latin America. This is a clear opportunity to improve care and outcomes of patients.
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- 11. a. b. Prado C, Campos J. Nutritional status of patients with gastrointestinal cancer receiving care in a public hospital; 2010-2011. Nutr Hosp 2013;28(2):405-411.
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- 13. a. b. De Souza VC, Duradob KF, Limaa ALC et al. Relationship between nutritional status and immediate complications in patients undergoing colorectal surgery. J Coloproc 2013;(33)2:83–91.
- 14. MNI: Medical Nutritional International Industry. Oral Nutritional Supplements to tackle malnutrition. A summary of the evidence base. Third version 2012.
- 15. a. b. Pirlich M, Schutz T, Kemps M et al. Prevalence of malnutrition in hospitalized medical patients: impact of underlying disease. Dig Dis 2003;21(3):245-251.