The prevalence of undernutrition upon hospitalization in children in a developing country: A single hospital study from Malaysia

Lee, W.S. and Ahmad, Z. (2017) The prevalence of undernutrition upon hospitalization in children in a developing country: A single hospital study from Malaysia. Pediatrics & Neonatology, 58 (5). pp. 415-420. ISSN 1875-9572

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Background Undernourished children who require hospital care have a longer duration of hospitalization and respond poorly to modern medical therapy. The objective of the present study was to ascertain the nutritional status of children admitted to a pediatric tertiary center in Malaysia and the risk factors leading to undernutrition upon admission. Methods In this cross-sectional, hospital-based study, anthropometric measurements [weight, length/height, mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC), triceps skinfold thickness were performed in 285 children aged from 3 months to 15 years who were admitted to University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur in November 2013. Acute (wasting) and chronic (stunting) undernutrition were defined as weight-for-height (WFH) and height-for-age (HFA) < −2 standard deviation (S.D.), respectively. Underweight was defined as weight-for-age < −2 S.D. For children aged between 1 and 5 years of age, World Health Organization definition for acute undernutrition (HFA < −2 S.D. and/or MUAC < 12.5 cm) was also noted. Results Upon admission, the prevalence rates of acute and chronic undernutrition were 11% (n = 32) and 14% (n = 41), respectively. In addition, 7% (n = 21) had an MUAC of < 12.5 cm, 15% had body-mass index < −2 S.D., and 7% (n = 21) had triceps skinfold thickness < −2 S.D., while 17% (n = 47) were underweight. Using the World Health Organization definition of acute undernutrition, an additional eight patients were noted to have acute undernutrition (n = 40, 14%). No significant risk factors associated with undernutrition were identified. Conclusion The prevalence of undernutrition among children admitted to a tertiary hospital in Malaysia was 14%. Strategies for systematic screening and provision of nutritional support in children at risk of undernutrition as well as treatment of undernutrition in children requiring hospitalization are needed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hospitalization; Risk factors; Undernutrition
Subjects: R Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2018 07:48
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2018 07:48

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