Standardized malnutrition screening tool can benefit most adults

Using one standardized screening tool to identify adults who may have malnutrition (undernutrition) increases the likelihood of an accurate diagnosis and timely treatment, according to a position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

According to the position paper "Malnutrition (Undernutrition) Screening Tools for All Adults," to be published in the April issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that, based upon current evidence, the Malnutrition Screening Tool should be used to screen adults for malnutrition (undernutrition) regardless of their age, medical history, or setting.

This position paper is based on an evidence-based systematic review conducted by the Academy's Nutrition Screening for Adults Workgroup. The Academy determined that all adults, regardless of age or health status, can benefit the most from a single validated tool that is used to screen for malnutrition (undernutrition) in all settings where screening occurs.

The Academy has long supported screening patients for malnutrition (undernutrition) to determine who might benefit from the nutritional assessment and nutritional intervention provided by a registered dietitian nutritionist.

"Replacing other malnutrition screening tools, especially those not rigorously validated, with the Malnutrition Screening Tool is expected to identify persons with malnutrition and provide consistent data to support nutrition practice and policy," according to the position paper.

The Academy recommends that registered dietitian nutritionists encourage the implementation of the Malnutrition Screening Tool and provide ongoing training to those who administer the screening.

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