Risk of malnutrition of hospitalized children in a university public hospital

Nelly Carolina Muñoz-Esparza, Edgar Manuel Vásquez-Garibay, Enrique Romero-Velarde, Rogelio Troyo-Sanromán


Objective: The study aimed to demonstrate that the duration of hospitalization has a significant effect on the nutritional status of children treated in a university hospital.

Methods: A longitudinal study was conducted during 2014, with a non-random sampling site concentration in children from birth to 19 years who were admitted to the hospital in the past 24 hours and who met the inclusion criteria and had signed informed consent. Upon entering, at 7 days, and at discharge, anthropometric indices, including weight/age, height/age, weight/height, BMI/age, head circumference/age, triceps and subscapular skin folds, and fat percentage, were obtained. Student’s t-test, U Mann-Whitney, ANOVA, chi square, Wilcoxon, and odds ratios were used to analyze the data.

Results: In total, 206 patients were included: 40% infants, 25% preschoolers, 15% schoolchildren, and 20% teenagers. Infants had a significant
improvement from admission to discharge in the indices weight/length (p = 0.042) and BMI (p = 0.002); adolescents showed decreased BMI from admission to discharge from the hospital (p = 0.05). Patients with longer hospitalization (more than 10 days) had an increased deficit in anthropometric indices at admission (p < 0.05). Infants had a higher risk of deficit in the BMI index and height/age than preschoolers, schoolchildren, and adolescents between admission and discharge.

Conclusion: When the nutritional condition of a child was critical at admission, the child remained hospitalized significantly longer. Infants come under the age group most vulnerable to malnutrition and require greater monitoring of nutritional status during hospitalization.

Palabras clave

Nutritional status. Malnutrition. Hospitalized child.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.20960/nh.974

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