Alliance Founding Members
The facts on malnutrition

Below you will find what every care professional needs to know now about patient nutrition.

Our Partnership
The Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition is an interdisciplinary partnership between the nation’s leading health organizations, dedicated to improving patient outcomes. Our alliance represents over 100,000 dietitians, nurses, hospitalists and other physicians from all 50 states, on a mission to transform patient outcomes through nutrition.

A Challenging Healthcare Landscape
Recent healthcare reform measures place an urgent need to improve outcomes for the 1 in 3 patients who enters the hospital malnourished.1-3

What is Malnutrition?
Malnutrition begins with inadequate intake of protein and/or energy over prolonged periods of time which results in loss of fat stores and/or muscle stores. Malnutrition occurs in the presence of absence of inflammation and can be related to:4

  • Starvation
  • Chronic illness
  • Acute disease or illness

Malnutrition causes adverse effects on body function and clinical outcomes5 and can occur at any BMI.


6 clinical characteristics of malnutrition6,7

Identify a patient as malnourished if they have any two of the six characteristics below.

  • Insufficient food intake compared with nutrition requirements
  • Weight loss over time
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Loss of fat mass
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Measurably diminished grip strength

Malnutrition in the Hospital: The effects of malnutrition in the hospital are visible across the spectrum of patient care.
  • Malnourished patients are 2 times more likely to develop a pressure ulcer in the hospital.8
  • Malnourished patients are hospitalized an average of 2 days longer than those who are screened and treated early.9,10
  • 45% of patients who fall in the hospital are malnourished.11
  • Patients with malnutrition/weight loss have 3 times the risk for surgical site infection.12

Benefits of Nutrition Intervention: Studies have shown that nutrition intervention leads to significant improvements in patient outcomes.
  • 25% reduction in pressure ulcer incidence 13
  • 28% decrease in avoidable readmissions 14
  • 14% fewer overall complications 15
  • Average length of stay is reduced by approximately 2 days 9,10

Click here to download the Fact Sheet PDF(1.2 MB)

1Coats KG et al.. J Am Diet Assoc 1993; 93: 27-33.
2Giner M et al. Nutrition 1996; 12: 23-29.
3Thomas DR et al. Am J Clin Nutr 2002; 75: 308-313.
4Jensen et al. JPEN 2010;34:156-159.
5Elia M, ed. Maidenhead, UK: British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN);2000.
6White et al., JAND 2012;112:730-738.
7White et al., JPEN 2012;36:275-283.
8Banks M, et al. Nutrition 2010;26:896-901.
9Brugler L et al. J Qual Improv 1999;25:191-206
10Smith PE, et al. Healthcare Financial Management 1997;51:66-69.
11Bauer JD, et al. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2007; 20 :558-564
12Fry DE, et al. Arch Surg. 2010;145:148-151.
13Stratton RJ, et al. Ageing Res Rev. 2005;4:422-450.
14Gariballa S, et al. Am J Med 2006; 119(8):693-699
15Milne AC, et al.  Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Apr 15(2): CD003288.