Utilization and Validation of the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM): A Scoping Review

Clinical Nutrition. 2022 Mar; 41(3):687-697. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2022.01.018. Epub 2022 Feb 1.
Correia, M., Tappenden, K. A., Malone, A., Prado, C. M., Evans, D. C., Sauer, A. C., Hegazi, R., & Gramlich, L.


Background & Aims: The diagnosis of malnutrition remains a significant challenge despite various published diagnostic criteria. In 2018, the Global Leadership Initiative on Malnutrition (GLIM) published a set of evidence-based criteria as a framework for malnutrition diagnosis in adults. A scoping review was conducted to understand how the GLIM criteria have been used in published literature and compare the reported validation methods to published validation guidance.

Methods: Dialog and Dimensions databases were searched by publication date (January 1, 2019, through January 29, 2021). Data were extracted and mapped to the research objectives.

Results: Seventy-nine studies were reviewed; 32% were in patients at least 65 years of age; 67% occurred in hospitals. The majority were cohort studies (61%). Fifty-seven percent employed all 5 GLIM criteria. Regarding phenotypic criteria, 92% used low BMI, and 45% applied anthropometry as a marker for muscle mass, of which 54% used calf circumference. Regarding etiologic criteria, 72% used reduced food intake/assimilation, and 85% applied inflammation/disease burden. Validation of GLIM criteria was described in 77% of publications.

Conclusions: The GLIM criteria have been studied extensively since their publication. Low BMI was the phenotypic criterion used most often, whereas both reduced food intake/assimilation and inflammation/disease burden were frequently employed as the etiologic criteria. However, how the criteria were combined and how validation was conducted were not clear in most studies. Adequately powered, methodologically sound validation studies using the complete GLIM criteria are needed in various patient populations and disease settings to assess validity for the diagnosis of malnutrition.

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List of abbreviations

DGEM German Society for Nutritional Medicine (German Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährungsmedizin)
GESKES  Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (German Gesellschaft für klinische Ernährung der Schweiz) 
ESPEN European Society of Clinicl Nutrition and Metabolism