Table 81.1Routine Nutritional Evaluation

1. Do you take any vitamin or mineral supplements?This is important in addition to questioning medications, as many do not consider vitamins as medications. Megavitamin use may be revealed.
2. Have you had any recent weight loss? If yes, have you been following any particular diet plan?A brief assessment of dietary methods used for weight loss is important, as some reducing diets are hazardous.
3. Have you been experiencing undue fatigue or lack of energy? If yes, have you recently changed eating habits? Tell me what you"ve eaten so far today or yesterday.This is an extremely common and vague symptom, but occasionally can be due to poor dietary habits or nutrient imbalance.
4. Have you noted a loss of appetite or altered taste sensations?This can be evidence for nutrient imbalance or specific deficiency such as zinc.
5. Are you a vegetarian? If yes, do you understand the concept of complementary amino acids, and what are your sources of vitamin B12?Vegetarians are generally more nutrition conscious than nonvegetarians, but if these principles are not understood, patient education is in order.

From: Chapter 81, The Nutritional History

Cover of Clinical Methods
Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition.
Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors.
Boston: Butterworths; 1990.
Copyright © 1990, Butterworth Publishers, a division of Reed Publishing.

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