Nutrition status of patients during hospitalization, Tehran, Iran

Nutr Clin Pract. 2006 Oct;21(5):518-21. doi: 10.1177/0115426506021005518.


Background: We assessed the nutrition status of patients on admission and monitored changes during hospitalization at Shariatri Educational Hospital, Tehran, Iran.

Methods: One hundred fifty-six randomly selected patients from 9 different wards were assessed. Body mass index (BMI) and body composition (based on bioelectrical impedance) were measured on admission and discharge. A questionnaire was also completed to evaluate general physical, psychological, and living status of the patients. Medical records were audited to identify when nutrition consultation, nutrition support, and nutrition-related laboratory factors (serum levels of total lymphocyte count [TLC] and albumin) were ordered. Frequency and paired t-test were used to analyze data.

Results: Undernutrition (BMI <18.5 kg/m(2)) was present in 5.7% of the patients on admission, and severe undernutrition (BMI <16 kg/m(2)) existed in 0.6%. When discharged, 11% of patients were undernourished, and the prevalence of severe undernutrition increased to 1.3%. Average body weight and BMI decreased significantly during hospitalization (p < .001). Body composition analysis showed a significant reduction in body protein mass (p < .001). During hospitalization, body water percentile decreased and body fat percentile increased but not significantly. Only 1 patient was supported with parenteral nutrition (PN) and 1 with enteral nutrition. Orders for nutrition consultation were present in 1.9%, TLC levels in 10.8%, and serum albumin levels in 7% of the patient medical records surveyed.

Conclusions: Undernutrition increased in patients during hospitalization. According to the low rate of nutrition-related orders, one potential cause of worsening nutrition status may be inadequate medical staff awareness about the importance of nutrition in hospitalized patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / diagnosis
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires