Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Promotes Tool to Help Diagnose Malnutrition in Hospitalized Adults

Chicago, March 07, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Estimates suggest that 25% to 50% of hospitalized patients have malnutrition, which is a serious health condition that can decrease a person’s quality of life and increase a person’s risk of death. Many of these patients went undiagnosed because health care providers had no universally accepted tool to check, until now.

A malnutrition  tool, referred to as AAIM, can help registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) accurately diagnose malnutrition, according to two scientific papers from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Armed with this tool and the accurate assessment of malnutrition, RDNs can provide medical nutrition therapy to improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs.

“The AAIM tool is easy to use and implement in the clinical setting because it uses a nutrition-focused physical examination to assess weight loss, muscle and fat loss and reduced energy intake,” said Alison Steiber, PhD, RDN, LD, the Academy’s chief science officer.

“Registered dietitian nutritionists and other members of the health care team can then use their clinical judgement to determine if, and at what level, a patient has malnutrition,” Steiber said.

Details about the AAIM tool can be found in the paper Predictive validity of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition indicators (AAIM) to diagnose malnutrition tool in hospitalized adults: a cohort study, now in press in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This paper touts AAIM’s ability to predict the length of hospital stays, emergency department visits and readmission rates. The paper’s lead author is Elizabeth Yakes Jimenez, PhD, MS, RDN, a professor and assistant dean of research at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

The second paper Systematic Review of Content Validity and Meta-analysis of Predictive Validity for Clinical Outcomes Associated with Malnutrition Identified by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Indicators was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The paper describes a systematic review comparing the AAIM tool favorably against a previously validated tool and how AAIM effectively predicts patient mortality and hospital readmission rates. The paper’s lead author is Charlene W. Compher, PhD, RD, LDN, FASPEN, a professor of nutrition science at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

“Lack of standardization has resulted in uncertainty by government agencies and poor-quality care to hospitalized adults,” Steiber said. “This AAIM tool is one reason clinical research conducted by RDNs is so important — to assess and validate what we do and how it improves patient care and outcomes.”


Representing more than 112,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at


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