According to a new study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, medical and surgical gastrointestinal (GI) outpatients in the UK have a high prevalence of malnutrition (14%), and most of them are not being seen by a dietitian.
Researchers assessed the prevalence of malnutrition and associated risk factors in patients attending a medical and surgical gastroenterology outpatient department in the UK. Body mass index (BMI) and percentage weight loss (WL) were determined, and patients were stratified using the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST).
The findings showed that 14 per cent of the GI outpatients had a BMI of 2 or ≥5 per cent WL. Ten per cent of the patients were categorised as MUST “medium risk” and 4 per cent as MUST “high risk” of malnutrition. Sixty-one per cent of patients with malnutrition were not referred to or seen by a dietitian. The prevalence of malnutrition was independent of sex, history of previous surgery or underlying co-morbidities. Malnutrition was more common in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) than those without IBD (18% vs 12%; P<.05 and in patients with cancer than those not having vs p>
The authors commented: "The identification of risk factors associated with outpatient malnutrition (cancer and IBD) helps direct attention towards these patients who may benefit from dietetic assessment and advice including active nutritional support."