Hospital patients have high risk of malnutrition, study finds

One in three hospitalized adults is at risk of malnutrition, a study published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition found.

To determine the prevalence of malnutrition in hospitals, the researchers surveyed about 10,000 patients from 245 U.S. hospitals and found one in three adults is at risk of malnutrition during hospitalization.

The study found over half (51 percent) of patients leave most of their meals uneaten while in the hospital. It also found patients who ate none of their food had a nearly six times higher risk of death than those who ate some food.

If patients do not eat well-rounded meals while staying in the hospital, they have a higher chance of health complications and delayed recovery, the researchers said.

"Patients don't always have the best appetite or desire to eat while in the hospital, so it's important to create an environment and serve up options that promote optimal food intake," said lead study author Abby Sauer, a registered dietitian at Abbott.

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