Assessment of nutritional status and nutritional risk in hospitalized Iranian children


Prof Andrew Day, MB, ChB, MD, FRACP, Department of Paediatrics, University of Otago, Christchurch, PO Box 4345, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Tel: 64-3-3640747 |
Fax: 64-3-3640919 |


Aims:  This study aimed to define the nutritional state of children admitted to a tertiary Iranian hospital and to evaluate nutritional risk score tools in these children.

Methods:  The anthropometry of hospitalized and healthy children from the same community was determined. Three nutritional risk score tools were applied to all inpatients.

Results:  One hundred and nineteen inpatients were recruited along with a comparison group of 100 children. The prevalence of under-nutrition in the inpatient group was 25.2% and 3% in the community group (p < 0.0001). Obesity/overweight was more prevalent in the community group than the inpatients (22% versus 2.5%: p = 0.04). Severely malnourished children had a longer hospital stay than those with normal nutrition (p < 0.0001). The nutritional risk score tools identified between 83% and 90% of the malnourished patients in the moderate and high-risk groups. The STRONGkids tool correlated more strongly with anthropometric measurements than the other tools. The length of hospital stay was associated with risk status (p = 0.004).

Conclusion:  Hospitalized Iranian children have higher rates of under-nutrition than healthy children from the same community. NRS tools were able to identify children at nutritional risk; however, variable utility was observed. Further assessment of NRS tools in the developing setting is required.