Background: Disease-related malnutrition is a major public health issue in both industrialised and emerging countries. The reported prevalence in hospitalised adults ranges from 20% to 50%. Initial reports from emerging countries suggested a higher prevalence compared with other regions, with limited data on outcomes and costs.
Methods: We performed a systematic literature search for articles on disease-related malnutrition in Latin American countries published between January 1995 and September 2014. Studies reporting data on the prevalence, clinical outcomes, or economic costs of malnutrition in an adult (≥18 years) inpatient population with a sample size of ≥30 subjects were eligible for inclusion. Methodological quality of the studies was assessed by two independent reviewers using published criteria.
Results: We identified 1467 citations; of these, 66 studies including 29 ,474 patients in 12 Latin American countries met the criteria for inclusion. There was considerable variability in methodology and in the reported prevalence of disease-related malnutrition; however, prevalence was consistently in the range of 40%-60% at the time of admission, with several studies reporting an increase in prevalence with increasing duration of hospitalisation. Disease-related malnutrition was associated with an increase in infectious and non-infectious clinical complications, length of hospital stay, and costs.
Conclusion: Disease-related malnutrition is a highly prevalent condition that imposes a substantial health and economic burden on the countries of Latin America. Further research is necessary to characterise screening/assessment practices and identify evidence-based solutions to this persistent and costly public health issue.
Keywords: Assessment; Cost; Hospital; Malnutrition; Prevalence; Screening.
Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.