Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Vitality

Prevalence of undernutrition in Dutch hospital outpatients

Abstract : BACKGROUND: The prevalence of undernutrition in hospital inpatients is high. Earlier detection and treatment in the hospital outpatient clinic may help to reduce these numbers. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of undernutrition in hospital outpatients in the Netherlands, to determine high risk departments, and to determine the percentage of patients receiving dietetic treatment.


This cross-sectional multicenter study was conducted in nine hospitals. Patients who visited the outpatient clinic on one of the screening days in the period March-May 2008 received a short questionnaire and were weighed. Patients were classified as severely undernourished, moderately undernourished or not undernourished.


2288 patients were included in the study, of which 5% were severely undernourished and 2% were moderately undernourished. The prevalence of severe undernutrition was highest in the outpatient departments of oral maxillofacial surgery (17%), oncology (10%), rehabilitation (8%), gastroenterology (7%) and pulmonology (7%). Only 17% of all severely undernourished and 4% of all moderately undernourished patients reported to receive dietetic treatment.


The prevalence of undernutrition in hospital outpatients is generally low but largely undertreated. Future screening should focus on high risk departments.


Leistra, E., Neelemaat, F., Evers, A., van Zandvoort, M. W., Weijs, P. J. M., van Bokhorst-de van der Schueren, M. A., Visser, M., Kruizenga, H. M. 'Prevalence of undernutrition in Dutch hospital outpatients'. In: Eur J Int Med 2009 Sep;20(5):509-13.

Gepubliceerd door  Kenniscentrum Bewegen, Sport en Voeding 20 september 2009


sep 2009