Evaluation of nutritional status of patients attending two tertiary hospitals in south-west, Nigeria

  • J.A. Otegbayo
  • O.M. Onifade
  • J.O. Akinyemi
  • O.Y. Oluyemi
  • V.N. Okoje
  • A.R. Adeniyi
  • F.D. Rabor
  • O.O. Adeleye
Keywords: Nutritional status, Malnutrition, Nutritional assessment, MNA, Dietary intake


Background: Undernutrition and overnutrition constitute notable health hazards to man. Thus, optimal nutrition can prevent disease and promote health. The goal of nutrition assessment is to identify any specific nutrition risk(s) or clear existence of malnutrition. This paper attempts to assess the nutritional status of patients being attended to in tertiary hospitals.

Method: This was a cross-sectional study carried out in tertiary healthcare institutions in South-west Nigeria. The sample consisted of 276 patients attending the medical, surgical, gynaecology and general out-patient clinic of the hospitals. Mini Nutrition Assessment, a pre-tested questionnaire developed by the Nestle Nutrition Institute was used to obtain data from the respondents. The researcher-administered questionnaire which contained close ended questions was divided into two sections; Screening section and Assessment section. Anthropometric measurements including weight, height, mid-arm circumference and calf circumference were carried out to determine the nutritional status of the patients. Malnutrition Indication Score was obtained and the nutritional status was graded as Normal nutritional status, at risk of malnutrition and malnourished. SPSS version 20.0 was used for data entry, cleaning and analysis. Nutritional status and dietary patterns were summarized using frequencies and percentages while mean (standard deviation) was computed for continuous variables.

Results: The overall nutritional indicator score showed that 19.6% had normal nutritional status, 34.1% were at risk of malnutrition and 5.8% of the patients malnourished. Less than one out of every 10 patients (7.6%) take only one meal per day while 46.7% reported three meals. Dietary pattern showed that about one third (30.8%) take at least one serving of dairy products per day while 71.4% takes meat, fish or poultry product daily. Half (50.0%) take two or more servings of fruit or vegetables per day. Regarding fluid intake, 60.9% reported more than 5 cups per day. There was no statistically significant association between nutritional status and basic demographic variables-age and sex. The malnourished patients were however slightly older than those with normal nutritional status.

Conclusion: Nutrition plays an important role in a patient’s overall condition and there exists basic factors in illness which has the ability to alter an individual’s food intake. This paper calls for the need for clinicians to ensure that nutritional assessment be incorporated into the routine management of patients who are at least of middle age and older.

Keywords: Nutritional status, Malnutrition, Nutritional assessment, MNA, Dietary intake


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2251-0079