Prevalence and predictors of weight change post discharge from hospital: a study of the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force

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Little is known about factors associated with weight change post discharge from hospital; yet poor nutritional status in the transition from hospital to community can result in readmission. This exploratory study aimed to determine the factors associated with weight change 30 days post discharge defined as weight gain (WG; 5+ pounds), weight loss (WL; 5 +pounds) or weight stable (WS).


A total of 922 medical or surgical patients were recruited from 16 acute care hospitals in 8 Canadian provinces. Telephone interviews were completed with 747 (81%) participants 30 days post discharge using a standardized questionnaire that included: self-reported weight change, assessment of appetite, usage of healthcare services and supports for food-related activities of daily living. Covariates collected during hospitalization, including nutritional status at discharge evaluated by subjective global assessment (SGA), were used in logistic regressions.


Among the 747 patients, 26% reported WL, 16.7% had WG and 57.2% were WS. Those with WG were: younger (odds ratio (OR) 0.77 (0.69, 0.85)), male (OR 1.71 (1.12, 2.61)), malnourished at discharge (SGA B OR 2.13 (1.36, 3.33), SGA C OR 2.76 (1.19, 6.62)), and had a good appetite based on the low OR for fair/poor appetite (OR 0.28 (0.11, 0.66)). WL was associated with being on a special diet (OR 1.45 (1.07,1.96)) and reporting fair/poor appetite (OR 2.67 (1.76, 4.07)).


Weight change was relatively common with WL predominating. Several variables were identified to be predictors of WL or weight gain, with appetite being common to both. Future work to further define and confirm these associations is warranted.

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