• 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.