Protein-Energy malnutrition exists and is associated with negative outcomes in morbidly obese hospital patients

Ekta Agarwal, Maree Ferguson, Merrilyn Banks, Angela Vivanti, Judy Bauer, Sandra Capra, Elisabeth Isenring

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Prevalence of protein-energy malnutrition (PEM), food intake inadequacy and associated health-related outcomes in morbidly obese (Body Mass Index ≥ 40 kg/m2) acute care patients are unknown. This study reports findings in morbidly obese participants from the Australasian Nutrition Care Day Survey (ANCDS) conducted in 2010. The ANCDS was a cross-sectional survey involving acute care patients from 56 Australian and New Zealand hospitals. Hospital-based dietitians evaluated participants’ nutritional status (defined by Subjective Global Assessment, SGA) and 24-hour food intake (as 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of the offered food). Three months later, outcome data, including length of stay (LOS) and 90-day in-hospital mortality, were collected. Of the 3122 participants, 4% (n = 136) were morbidly obese (67% females, 55 ± 14 years, BMI: 48 ± 8 kg/m2). Eleven percent (n = 15) of the morbidly obese patients were malnourished, and most (n = 11/15, 73%)received standard hospital diets without additional nutritional support. Malnourished morbidly obese patients had significantly longer LOS and greater 90-day in-hospital mortality than well-nourished counterparts (23 days vs. 9 days, p = 0.036; 14% vs. 0% mortality, p = 0.011 respectively). Thirteen morbidly obese patients (10%) consumed only 25% of the offered meals with a significantly greater proportion of malnourished (n = 4, 27%) versus well-nourished (n = 9, 7%) (p = 0.018). These results provide new knowledge on the prevalence of PEM and poor food intake in morbidly obese patients in Australian and New Zealand hospitals. For the first time internationally, the study establishes that PEM is significantly associated with negative outcomes in morbidly obese patients and warrants timely nutritional support during hospitalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23
Number of pages1
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventDietitians Association of Australia 31st National Conference - Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 15 May 201417 May 2014
Conference number: 31st


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