• audit;
  • food;
  • hospital meals;
  • nutrition

•  There have been numerous reports that the nutritional intake of many hospitalized patients is sub-optimal, but there is little published information about patients’ diets in Australian hospitals.

•  In this study, the nutritional intake of patients in general medical wards of an Australian acute care hospital was assessed.

•  Although the hospital diet can provide adequate energy and nutrients, many patients may not consume sufficient food to meet their needs.

•  The estimated energy intake of about one-third of patients was very low, and vitamin C, calcium and zinc intakes were also of concern.

•  The implications are discussed and recommendations for improved nutritional care are suggested.