Malnutrition screening tools for hospitalized children

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Malnutrition is highly prevalent in hospitalized children and has been associated with relevant clinical outcomes. The scope of this review is to describe the five screening tools and the recent European Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ESPEN) research project aimed at establishing agreed, evidence-based criteria for malnutrition and screening tools for its diagnosis in hospitalized children.

Recent findings

Five nutrition screening tools have recently been developed to identify the risk of malnutrition in hospitalized children. These tools have been tested to a limited extent by their authors in the original published studies but have not been validated by other independent studies. So far, such screening tools have not been established widely as part of standard pediatric care.

Summary

Although nutrition screening and assessment are recommended by European Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition and are often accepted to be required by healthcare facilities, there is no standardized approach to nutritional screening for pediatric inpatients. The near future will provide us with comparative data on the existing tools which may contribute to delineating a standard for useful nutrition screening in pediatrics.

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