How is a simple nutritional assessment performed?
Simple bedside assessment may be as valuable for predicting nutrition-associated outcomes as sophisticated composition and function tests. Two popular methods, the Subjective Global Assessment (SGA) and the Mini Nutritional Assessment are simple-to-use validated nutritional assessment tools. Each incorporates basic questions about weight history, intake, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, disease state, functional level, and a physical examination to classify patients as well-nourished, mildly to moderately malnourished, or severely malnourished.
A weight history, estimate of recent intake, brief physical examination, consideration of disease stress and medications, and assessments of functional status and wound healing allow a good estimate of nutritional status. They predict the risk for malnutrition-associated complications as well as or better than laboratory data. Poor intake for longer than 1 to 2 weeks, a weight loss of more than 10%, or a weight less than 80% of desirable warrants closer nutritional assessment and follow-up.