Malnutrition Negatively Affects Hospital Outcomes
Depending where you live, the prevalence of malnutrition varies. In the US, the prevalence of clinical deficiencies are: vitamin B6 (10.5%), vitamin D (9.5%), vitamin C (6%), and vitamin B12 (2%). Among women 12-49y, 9.5% are iron deficient. These are nationally representative, free-living, apparently healthy individuals.
A new study from Turkey examines the micronutrient status of patients being hospitalized in an infectious disease clinic. The incidence of zinc, selenium, thiamin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 deficiency were 667.%, 46.6%, 39.7%, 35.3% and 14.1%, respectively. Arriving at a hospital in poor nutritional status is never good. Why? Malnutrition was associated with higher rates of infection and increased morbidity and mortality. Malnutrition is not exclusive to developing countries. At least 1/3 of patients in developed countries have some degree of malnutrition upon admission to the hospital.
Nutritional risk (malnutrition) is associated with length of stay in hospital. In UK adults over 65y, malnutrition increases with poor health status and the appearance of chronic disease. It affects hospital costs and outcomes. Some diseases, eg inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), increase the risk of vitamin and mineral deficiency. Vitamin A and zinc deficiency are particularly common among individuals newly diagnosed with IBD.
The motivation for admission to a hospital is often unexpected and unwanted. People aspire to be healthy and stay out of hospitals. However, when there is a need to be hospitalized, malnutrition and poor health co-exist. Arriving at a hospital malnourished increases the length of hospitalization and the risk of complications.
Nutrition is an opportunity to invest in well-being. Support your body. Consume recommended amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Every day is an investment.
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