This study was aimed to compare the subjective and objective nutritional assessments and to analyse the performance of subjective global assessment (SGA) of nutritional status in diagnosing undernutrition in paediatric patients. One hundred and forty children (aged 2-12 years) hospitalized consecutively in Tabriz Paediatric Hospital from June 2008 to August 2008 underwent subjective assessment using the SGA questionnaire and objective assessment, including anthropometric and biochemical measurements. Agreement between two assessment methods was analysed by the kappa (κ) statistic. Statistical indicators including (sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, error rates, accuracy, powers, likelihood ratios and odds ratio) between SGA and objective assessment method were determined. The overall prevalence of undernutrition according to the SGA (70.7%) was higher than that by objective assessment of nutritional status (48.5%). Agreement between the two evaluation methods was only fair to moderate (κ = 0.336, P < 0.001). The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value of the SGA method for screening undernutrition in this population were 88.235%, 45.833%, 60.606% and 80.487%, respectively. Accuracy, positive and negative power of the SGA method were 66.428%, 56.074% and 41.25%, respectively. Likelihood ratio positive, likelihood ratio negative and odds ratio of the SGA method were 1.628, 0.256 and 6.359, respectively. Our findings indicated that in assessing nutritional status of children, there is not a good level of agreement between SGA and objective nutritional assessment. In addition, SGA is a highly sensitive tool for assessing nutritional status and could identify children at risk of developing undernutrition.
© 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.