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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Consensus Malnutrition Characteristics

Malnutrition in adult hospitalized patients has been a significant issue for almost 40 years. Changes in 2007 to the diagnosis related groups reimbursement methodology, as outlined by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, provided an impetus to improve the diagnosis and documentation of malnutrition in adult patients. Being able to accurately assess, diagnose, and document malnutrition has been challenged by the lack of a standard malnutrition definition. In 2012 a workgroup of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition published a consensus paper outlining characteristics for the diagnosis of adult hospital malnutrition. Using the etiology approach for defining malnutrition as outlined by Jensen and colleagues, 6 general characteristics are outlined with specific thresholds to delineate severe and nonsevere malnutrition. The purpose of this article is to provide practical strategies for criteria implementation and to describe one institution's experience in implementing a broad‐based “malnutrition program” within its healthcare system.

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Diagnostic criteria for malnutrition – An ESPEN Consensus Statement

Objective

To provide a consensus-based minimum set of criteria for the diagnosis of malnutrition to be applied independent of clinical setting and aetiology, and to unify international terminology.

Method

The European Society of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) appointed a group of clinical scientists to perform a modified Delphi process, encompassing e-mail communications, face-to-face meetings, in group questionnaires and ballots, as well as a ballot for the ESPEN membership.

Result

First, ESPEN recommends that subjects at risk of malnutrition are identified by validated screening tools, and should be assessed and treated accordingly. Risk of malnutrition should have its own ICD Code. Second, a unanimous consensus was reached to advocate two options for the diagnosis of malnutrition. Option one requires body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) <18.5 to define malnutrition. Option two requires the combined finding of unintentional weight loss (mandatory) and at least one of either reduced BMI or a low fat free mass index (FFMI). Weight loss could be either >10% of habitual weight indefinite of time, or >5% over 3 months. Reduced BMI is <20 or <22 kg/m2 in subjects younger and older than 70 years, respectively. Low FFMI is <15 and <17 kg/m2 in females and males, respectively. About 12% of ESPEN members participated in a ballot; >75% agreed; i.e. indicated ≥7 on a 10-graded scale of acceptance, to this definition.

Conclusion

In individuals identified by screening as at risk of malnutrition, the diagnosis of malnutrition should be based on either a low BMI (<18.5 kg/m2), or on the combined finding of weight loss together with either reduced BMI (age-specific) or a low FFMI using sex-specific cut-offs.

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To create a consensus on malnutrition diagnostic criteria: A report from the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) meeting at the ESPEN Congress 2016

During the ESPEN Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark (September 2016) representatives of the 4 largest global PEN-societies from Europe (ESPEN), USA (ASPEN), Asia (PENSA) and Latin America (FELANPE), and from national PEN-societies around the world met to continue the conversation on how to diagnose malnutrition that started during the Clinical Nutrition Week, Austin, USA (February 2016).

Current thinking on diagnostic approaches was shared; ESPEN suggested a grading approach that could encompass various types of signs, symptoms and etiologies to support diagnosis. ASPEN emphasized where the parties agree; i.e. that the three major published approaches (ESPEN, ASPEN/AND and Subjective Global Assessment (SGA)) all propose weight loss as a key indicator for malnutrition. FELANPE suggested that the anticipated consensus approach needs to prioritize a diagnostic methodology that is available for everybody since resources differ globally. PENSA highlighted that BMI varies by ethnicity/race, and that sarcopenia/muscle mass evaluation is important for the diagnosis of malnutrition.

A Core Working Committee of the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) has been established (comprised of two representatives each from the 4 largest PEN-societies) that will lead consensus development in collaboration with a larger Working Group with broad global representation, using e-mail, telephone conferences, and face-to-face meetings during the up-coming ASPEN and ESPEN Congresses. Transparency and external input will be sought. Objectives include: 1. Consensus development around evidence-based criteria for broad application. 2. Promotion of global dissemination of the consensus criteria. 3. Seeking adoption by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

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Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition: Progress Report From ASPEN Clinical Nutrition Week 2017

This is a restricted access article, but those belonging to ASPEN can access via log-in.

Children

Consensus Statement of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy) and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.), utilizing an evidence‐informed, consensus‐derived process, recommend that a standardized set of diagnostic indicators be used to identify and document pediatric malnutrition (undernutrition) in routine clinical practice. The recommended indicators include z scores for weight‐for‐height/length, body mass index‐for‐age, or length/height‐for‐age or mid–upper arm circumference when a single data point is available. 

When 2 or more data points are available, indicators may also include weight gain velocity (<2 years of age), weight loss (2–20 years of age), deceleration in weight for length/height z score, and inadequate nutrient intake. The purpose of this consensus statement is to identify a basic set of indicators that can be used to diagnose and document undernutrition in the pediatric population ages 1 month to 18 years. The indicators are intended for use in multiple settings (eg, acute, ambulatory care/outpatient, residential care). Several screening tools have been developed for use in hospitalized children. However, identifying criteria for use in screening for nutritional risk is not the purpose of this paper. 

Clinicians should use as many data points as available to identify and document the presence of malnutrition. The universal use of a single set of diagnostic parameters will expedite the recognition of pediatric undernutrition, lead to the development of more accurate estimates of its prevalence and incidence, direct interventions, and promote improved outcomes. A standardized diagnostic approach will also inform the prediction of the human and financial responsibilities and costs associated with the prevention and treatment of undernutrition in this vulnerable population and help to further ensure the provision of high‐quality, cost‐effective nutritional care.

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Defining Pediatric Malnutrition

Lack of a uniform definition is responsible for underrecognition of the prevalence of malnutrition and its impact on outcomes in children. A pediatric malnutrition definitions workgroup reviewed existing pediatric age group English‐language literature from 1955 to 2011, for relevant references related to 5 domains of the definition of malnutrition that were a priori identified: anthropometric parameters, growth, chronicity of malnutrition, etiology and pathogenesis, and developmental/ functional outcomes. 

Based on available evidence and an iterative process to arrive at multidisciplinary consensus in the group, these domains were included in the overall construct of a new definition. Pediatric malnutrition (undernutrition) is defined as an imbalance between nutrient requirements and intake that results in cumulative deficits of energy, protein, or micronutrients that may negatively affect growth, development, and other relevant outcomes. A summary of the literature is presented and a new classification scheme is proposed that incorporates chronicity, etiology, mechanisms of nutrient imbalance, severity of malnutrition, and its impact on outcomes. 

Based on its etiology, malnutrition is either illness related (secondary to 1 or more diseases/injury) or non–illness related, (caused by environmental/behavioral factors), or both. Future research must focus on the relationship between inflammation and illness‐related malnutrition. We anticipate that the definition of malnutrition will continue to evolve with improved understanding of the processes that lead to and complicate the treatment of this condition. A uniform definition should permit future research to focus on the impact of pediatric malnutrition on functional outcomes and help solidify the scientific basis for evidence‐based nutrition practices.

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Defining Pediatric Malnutrition: A Paradigm Shift Toward Etiology-Related Definitions

Lack of a uniform definition is responsible for underrecognition of the prevalence of malnutrition and its impact on outcomes in children.

A pediatric malnutrition definitions workgroup reviewed existing pediatric age group English-language literature from 1955 to 2011, for relevant references related to 5 domains of the definition of malnutrition that were a priori identified: anthropometric parameters, growth, chronicity of malnutrition, etiology and pathogenesis, and developmental/ functional outcomes. Based on available evidence and an iterative process to arrive at multidisciplinary consensus in the group, these domains were included in the overall construct of a new definition.

Pediatric malnutrition (undernutrition) is defined as an imbalance between nutrient requirements and intake that results in cumulative deficits of energy, protein, or micronutrients that may negatively affect growth, development, and other relevant outcomes. A summary of the literature is presented and a new classification scheme is proposed that incorporates chronicity, etiology, mechanisms of nutrient imbalance, severity of malnutrition, and its impact on outcomes. 

Based on its etiology, malnutrition is either illness related (secondary to 1 or more diseases/injury) or non–illness related, (caused by environmental/behavioral factors), or both. Future research must focus on the relationship between inflammation and illness-related malnutrition. We anticipate that the definition of malnutrition will continue to evolve with improved understanding of the processes that lead to and complicate the treatment of this condition. A uniform definition should permit future research to focus on the impact of pediatric malnutrition on functional.

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WHO child growth standards and the identification of severe acute malnutrition in infants and children

The statement presents the recommended cut-offs, summarizes the rationale for their adoption and advocates for their harmonized application in the identification of 6 to 60 month old infants and children for the management of severe acute malnutrition. It reviews the implications on patient load, on discharge criteria and on programme planning and monitoring. It also recommends the increase of the MUAC cut-off for defining severe acute malnutrition in children 6 months to 5 years of age from 110 mm to 115 mm.

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