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Prevalence of Malnutrition

A Growing Concern in Latin American Hospitals

Studies indicate a high prevalence of disease-related malnutrition in hospital patients around the world. According to the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition one in four patients is at risk of malnutrition.1234567 The prevalence of disease-related malnutrition is very high in Latin America, with up to 50 percent of hospital patients being identified as malnourished.8910111213

Disease-Related Malnutrition Affects Patients of All Ages

The prevalence of disease-related malnutrition is not restricted to one health care setting or one category of patient; it affects patients of all ages.14 Malnutrition and the risk of malnutrition are common in many hospital wards, including:15

  • Geriatrics
  • Gastroenterology
  • Internal medicine
  • Oncology
  • Surgery

Prevalence of Disease-Related Malnutrition Across Latin America

Several studies have reported data regarding the prevalence of disease-related malnutrition in different patient categories in Latin America. The Latin American Nutrition Study (ELAN, Estudio Latino Americano de Nutrición) cross-sectional, multicenter epidemiologic study used the Subjective Global Assessment (SGA) tool to determine the prevalence of disease-related malnutrition in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Uruguay. More than 50 percent of patients were found to be malnourished, with over 11 percent of this group being considered severely malnourished.8

Additional studies indicated similar prevalence rates of disease-related malnutrition in Brazil:

  • 58 percent of colorectal surgery patients13
  • 54 percent of ICU patients9
  • 48 percent of mixed hospital patients15
  • 44 percent of gastric cancer patients11

This data reveals a growing need to address disease-related malnutrition in Latin America. This is a clear opportunity to improve care and outcomes of patients.