Background: The early identification of malnutrition and nutrition risk through nutrition screening is common practice in adult clinical care but, in children, this has been hampered by the lack of an appropriate nutrition screening tool. The present study aimed to develop and evaluate a simple, child-specific nutrition screening tool for administration by non-nutrition healthcare professionals.
Methods: In a two-phase observational study, significant predictors of nutrition risk were identified using a structured questionnaire. These were then combined to produce a nutrition screening tool. For evaluation purposes, the reliability, sensitivity and specificity of the newly-developed Screening Tool for the Assessment of Malnutrition in Paediatrics (STAMP(©)) were estimated by comparing the classification of nutrition risk using the tool with that determined by a full nutritional assessment by a registered dietitian.
Results: A total of 122 children were recruited for development phase and a separate cohort of 238 children was recruited for the evaluation phase. Low percentile weight for age, reported weight loss, discrepancy between weight and height percentile and recently changed appetite were all identified as predictors of nutrition risk. These predictors, together with the expected nutrition risk of clinical diagnoses, were combined to produce STAMP(©). Evaluation of STAMP(©) demonstrated fair to moderate reliability in identifying nutrition risk compared to the nutrition risk classification determined by a registered dietitian (κ = 0.541; 95% confidence interval = 0.461-0.621). Sensitivity and specificity were estimated at 70% (51-84%) and 91% (86-94%), respectively.
Conclusions: The present study describes the development and evaluation of a new nutrition screening tool specifically for use in a UK general paediatric inpatient population.
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics © 2012 The British Dietetic Association Ltd.