Poor nutrition is an underrecognized cause of significant morbidity in hospitalized children.1,2  In addition to presenting with poor nutrition at the time of admission, children often suffer worsening of their nutritional status during the course of a hospitalization,3,4  often due to providers’ underrecognition of ongoing poor intake (see Fig 1). Pediatric hospitalists can and should play a central role in recognizing and treating this common comorbid condition.

In this article we highlight the important issue of malnutrition in hospitalized pediatric patients and propose a general approach to nutritional assessment and supplementation for the pediatric hospitalist.

Malnutrition is defined as a state in which a deficiency (or excess) of energy, protein, and other nutrition causes measurable adverse effects on the body and on growth (in children), and may impact clinical outcome. The term “nutritional deterioration” has been used to describe significant weight loss...

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