Prevalence of undernutrition in Dutch hospital outpatients

Eva Leistra, F. Neelemaat, A.M. Evers, M.H. van Zandvoort, P.J.M. Weijs, M.A.E. de van der Schueren, M. Visser, H.M. Kruizenga

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.

METHODS: 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.

RESULTS: 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.

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

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-513
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date23 Apr 2009
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Services
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malnutrition
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article
  • Multicenter Study


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