Evaluation of Muscle and Fat Loss as Diagnostic Criteria for Malnutrition

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According to the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics criteria, the diagnosis of malnutrition includes an evaluation of muscle and fat. The role of inflammation not only enhances the catabolism of muscle and fat loss but also interferes with anabolism. Dietitians and other nutrition professionals need to understand techniques to appropriately identify losses of muscle and fat to incorporate them into a malnutrition diagnosis. Proper training is imperative to correctly identify muscle and fat wasting in a consistent and reliable manner. Nutrition clinicians should begin incorporating these practices into patient assessments and care plans. The application of these techniques and assessment tools is challenging and continues to be a work in progress. Various scenarios do not allow for clearly defined methods that would lead to a reliable conclusion for diagnosing malnutrition indicating the need for further research. (Nutr Clin Pract. 2015;30:239–248)

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