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Nutritional assessment 

Nutritional assessment
Chapter:
Nutritional assessment
Author(s):

John Puntis

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198759928.003.0003
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date: 25 May 2020

Routine assessment of nutritional status should be part of normal practice when seeing any patient. The purpose is to document objective nutritional parameters (e.g. anthropometry), identify nutritional deficiencies, and establish nutritional needs. Protein–energy malnutrition has many adverse consequences including growth failure (identified by reference to standard growth charts). Worldwide, malnutrition contributes to a third of deaths in children under 5 years of age, and one in nine people don’t have enough food to lead an active and healthy life. In developed countries, malnutrition complicates both acute and chronic illness with negative effects on outcomes. In clinical practice, a useful approach to nutritional assessment is to consider three elements: ‘what you are’ (i.e. body habitus—underweight for height; short for age; etc.), ‘what you can do’ (functional activity), and ‘what you eat’ (current nutritional intake).

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