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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Malnutrition Negatively Affects Hospital Outcomes

By Michael McBurney

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.

Main Citation

Dizdar OS, Baspinar O, Kocer D, Dursun ZB, Avci D, Karakukcu C, Celik I, Gundogan K. Nutritional risk, micronutrient status and clinical outcomes: A prospective observational study in an infectious disease clinic. 2016 Nutrients doi: 10.3390/nu8030124

Other Citations

Kyle UG, Genton L, Pichard C. Hospital length of stay and nutritional status. 2005 Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 8(4):397-402

Tappenden KA, Quatrara  B, Parkhurst ML, Malone AM, Fanjiang G, Ziegler TR. Critical role of nutrition in improving quality of care: An interdisciplinary call to action to address adult hospital malnutrition.2013 J Acad Nutr Diet doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.05.015

Margetts BM, Thompson RL, Elia M, Jackson AA. Prevalence of risk of undernutrition is associated with poor health status in older people in the UK. 2003 Eur J Clin Nutr doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601499

Alkhouri RH, Hasmi H, Baker RD, Gelfond D, Baker SS. Vitamin and mineral status in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. 2013 JCEM doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31826a105d