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Arq Gastroenterol. 2009 Jul-Sep;46(3):219-24.

[Assessing nutritional status before introducing enteral nutrition].

[Article in Portuguese]

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  • 1Faculdade de Nutrição, Pontifícia Universidade de Campinas, Campinas, SP.



A proper diagnosis of the nutritional status is of the utmost importance for prescribing enteral nutrition therapy in the hospital environment.


To assess nutritional status indicators of patients about to receive enteral nutrition therapy in a hospital unit.


This cross-sectional study examined the nutritional status of 100 adult patients before they were introduced to enteral nutrition therapy by calculating their body mass index . Their height and weight were estimated by prediction formulas and laboratory indicators of nutritional and metabolic statuses.


Almost one-third (29%) of the patients were classified as malnourished according to their body mass index, while 80% of them had low albumin values (<3.2 g/dL). When patients were grouped according to body mass index, the distribution of the reasons for hospitalization did not differ between the groups. Cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases prevailed as the main reasons for hospitalization. When patients were grouped according to body mass index and diagnosis upon admission, the rates of low albumin concentration, i.e., concentration below the reference value, did not differ between the groups.


The estimated body mass index was a specific indicator of nutritional status but lacked sensitivity. Meanwhile, albumin was more sensitive, demonstrating that it is necessary to use many indicators in combination to diagnose nutritional status properly.

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