Objective: Nationwide prevalence studies on malnutrition in hospitalised children have not been done. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of malnutrition of all newly admitted children in The Netherlands during 3 consecutive days. Design: Prospective observational study. Setting: Paediatric wards of 44 hospitals (7 academic and 37 general). Participants: A total of 424 children aged ≥30 days and hospitalised for ≥ 1 day were included, 63% male, 86% non-white. Median age was 3.5 years and median hospital stay was 2 days. Main outcome measures: SD scores < -2 for weight for height and height for age were considered to indicate acute and chronic malnutrition, respectively. Results: Overall 19% of the children had acute and/or chronic malnutrition at admission (academic 22% and general 17%). The proportion of children with chronic malnutrition was significantly higher in academic hospitals (14% vs 6%). Logistic regression analysis allowing for age, underlying disease, ethnicity, surgery and type of centre showed a significant relation between the presence of malnutrition at admission and underlying disease (odds ratio (OR) 2.2). For chronic malnutrition both underlying disease and non-white ethnicity were significantly related to a higher prevalence (OR 3.7 and OR 2.8, respectively). Multiple regression analysis showed that children with acute malnutrition stayed on average 45% longer (95% CI 7% to 95%) in the hospital than children without such malnutrition. Conclusions: This unique nationwide study shows that 19% of children admitted to Dutch hospitals are malnourished at admission. This high prevalence underlines the need for routine screening and treatment of malnutrition in hospitalised children.

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Keywords Netherlands, acute disease, adolescent, article, body height, body weight, child, chronic disease, ethnicity, female, hospitalization, human, infant, male, malnutrition, national health service, preschool child, prevalence, priority journal, school child, screening
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1136/adc.2008.157255, hdl.handle.net/1765/19290
Joosten, K.F.M, Zwart, H, Hop, W.C.J, & Hulst, J.M. (2010). National malnutrition screening days in hospitalised children in the Netherlands. Archives of Disease in Childhood: an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers covering conception to adolescence, 95(2), 141–145. doi:10.1136/adc.2008.157255