BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the nutritional status and prevalence of malnutrition in hospitalized children at admission and during hospitalization in South Korea. SUBJECTS/METHODS: This first cross-sectional nationwide “Pediatric Nutrition Day (pNday)” survey was conducted among 872 hospitalized children (504 boys, 368 girls; 686 medical, 186 surgical) from 23 hospitals in South Korea. Malnutrition risk was screened using the Pediatric Yorkhill Malnutrition Score (PYMS) and the Screening Tool Risk on Nutritional status and Growth. Nutritional status was assessed by z-scores of weight-for-age for underweight, weight-for-height for wasting, and height-for-age for stunting as well as laboratory tests. RESULTS: At admission, of the 872 hospitalized children, 17.2% were underweight, and the prevalence of wasting and stunting was 20.2% and 17.3%, respectively. During hospitalization till pNday, 10.8% and 19.6% experienced weight loss and decreased oral intake, respectively. During the aforementioned period, fasting was more prevalent in surgical patients (7.5%) than in medical patients (1.6%) (P < 0.001). According to the PYMS, 34.3% and 30% of the children at admission and on pNday, respectively, had a high-risk of malnutrition, requiring consultation with the nutritional support team (NST). However, only 4% were actually referred to the NST during hospitalization. CONCLUSIONS: Malnutrition was prevalent at admission and during hospitalization in pediatric patients, with many children experiencing weight loss and poor oral intake. To improve the nutritional status of hospitalized children, it is important to screen and identify all children at risk of malnutrition and refer malnourished patients to the multidisciplinary NST for proper nutritional interventions.
- Nutrition surveys
- Nutritional status