To Eat or Not to Eat? Indicators for Reduced Food Intake in 91,245 Patients Hospitalized on Nutrition Days 2006-2014 in 56 Countries Worldwide: A Descriptive Analysis

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016 Nov; 104(5):1393-1402. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.137125.
Schindler, K., Themessl-Huber, M., Hiesmayr, M., Kosak, S., Lainscak, M., Laviano, A., Ljungqvist, O., Mouhieddine, M., Schneider, S., de van der Schueren, M., Schütz, T., Schuh, C., Singer, P., Bauer, P., & Pichard, C.


Background: Inadequate nutrition during hospitalization is strongly associated with poor patient outcome, but ensuring adequate food intake is not a priority in clinical routine worldwide. This lack of priority results in inadequate and unbalanced food intake in patients and huge amounts of wasted food.

Objectives: We evaluate the main factors that are associated with reduced meal intake in hospitalized patients and the differences between geographical regions.

Design: We conducted a descriptive analysis of data from 9 consecutive, annual, and cross-sectional nutritionDay samples (2006-2014) in a total of 91,245 adult patients in 6668 wards in 2584 hospitals in 56 countries. A general estimation equation methodology was used to develop a model for meal intake, and P-value thresholding was used for model selection.

Results: The proportion of patients who ate a full meal varied widely (24.7-61.5%) across world regions. The factors that were most strongly associated with reduced food intake on nutritionDay were reduced intake during the previous week (OR: 0.20; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.22), confinement to bed (OR: 0.49; 95% CI: 0.44, 0.55), female sex (OR: 0.53; 95% CI: 0.5, 0.56), younger age (OR: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.64, 0.85) and older age (OR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.74; 0.88), and low body mass index (OR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.79, 0.90). The pattern of associated factors was homogenous across world regions.

Conclusions: A set of factors that are associated with full meal intake was identified and is applicable to patients hospitalized in any region of the world. Thus, the likelihood for reduced food intake is easily estimated through access to patient characteristics, independent of world regions, and enables the easy personalization of food provision. This trial was registered at as NCT02820246.

Information NutriBib

Reference work for leading, current and selected literature in the field of clinical nutrition

Publications on clinical nutrition have grown steadily in recent years and the scientific evidence has been improved by numerous observational as well as intervention studies. Various umbrella organisations, such as the Swiss Society for Clinical Nutrition (GESKES), the German Society for Nutritional Medicine (DGEM) or the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism (ESPEN) publish guidelines on nutrition in various clinical situations at regular intervals. Thus, a large amount of literature is available for evidence-based nutritional medicine.

The NutriBib aims to filter out authoritative publications in the various fields of nutritional medicine and thus to provide an overview of the abundance of literature. A large number of experienced nutrition experts contributed to the selection of relevant sources and allow a broadly based selection. Nevertheless, the literature selection cannot be considered exhaustive. Specific literature can be found by entering search words (using the magnifying glass at the top right) or by searching the table of contents.

Is important literature still missing? We would be very pleased to hear from you:

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