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Prevalence of Malnutrition in Pediatric Hospitals in Developed and In-Transition Countries: The Impact of Hospital Practices.

Nutrients 2019 January 23
Presently, undernutrition still goes undetected in pediatric hospitals despite its association with poor clinical outcomes and increased annual hospital costs, thus affecting both the patient and the health care system. The reported prevalence of undernutrition in pediatric patients seeking care or hospitalized varies considerably, ranging from 2.5 to 51%. This disparity is mostly due to the diversity of the origin of populations studied, methods used to detect and assess nutritional status, as well as the lack of consensus for defining pediatric undernutrition. The prevalence among inpatients is likely to be higher than that observed for the community at large, since malnourished children are likely to have a pre-existent disease or to develop medical complications. Meanwhile, growing evidence indicates that the nutritional status of sick children deteriorates during the course of hospitalization. Moreover, the absence of systematic nutritional screening in this environment may lead to an underestimation of this condition. The present review aims to critically discuss studies documenting the prevalence of malnutrition in pediatric hospitals in developed and in-transition countries and identifying hospital practices that may jeopardize the nutritional status of hospitalized children.

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