Prevalence of Malnutrition, Its Risk Factors, and the Use of Nutrition Support in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2022 Jun 2;28(Suppl 2):S59-S66. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izab345.


Background: Malnutrition is prevalent among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Nutritional profiles among Asian patients with IBD have seldom been investigated. We assessed the prevalence of and risk factors for malnutrition, use of nutrition support, and sociopsychological status associated with malnutrition among patients with IBD in China.

Methods: Patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease (CD) recruited from 43 tertiary referral hospitals were screened for malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies in this cross-sectional study. The use of nutrition support was recorded. The sociopsychological status was assessed by subjective questionnaires. Factors associated with malnutrition were analyzed, and multivariate regression was used to determine independent predictors for malnutrition.

Results: We recruited 1013 patients with a median age of 35.0 years, 58.5% of them had CD, and 61.4% of all patients were male. Overall, 49.5% (n = 501) of patients were diagnosed with malnutrition, including 57.0% of patients with CD, 38.8% of patients with ulcerative colitis, and 44.1% of patients with quiescent or mildly active disease. Nutrient deficiencies were prevalent despite the absence of malnutrition. Malnutrition was associated with adverse sociopsychological status, including decreased social support, higher perceived stress, and impaired quality of life. Moderate to severe disease activity and extensive disease were 2 independent risk factors for malnutrition. In total, 41.6% of patients received nutrition support, and patients with risk factors were more likely to receive nutrition support.

Conclusions: Malnutrition was highly prevalent and associated with adverse consequences in Chinese patients with IBD. Malnutrition screening and early initiation of nutrition support are essential components in IBD care.

Keywords: inflammatory bowel disease; malnutrition; nutrition support.

Plain language summary

We performed mandatory malnutrition screenings in Chinese patients with inflammatory bowel disease across 43 tertiary referral hospitals. Malnutrition was highly prevalent in this population and associated with decreased quality of life. Active and extensive diseases were risk factors for malnutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / complications
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / therapy
  • Crohn Disease* / complications
  • Crohn Disease* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Malnutrition* / epidemiology
  • Malnutrition* / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors