ASPEN Launches Malnutrition Awareness WeekTM with New Statistics on the Impact and Cost of Malnutrition in the U.S.

Data Show Nearly 2 Million Hospital Stays Involve Malnutrition

September 22, 2016, Silver Spring, MD – The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral  Nutrition (ASPEN), an organization dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of clinical nutrition and metabolism, today launched its fifth annualMalnutrition Awareness Week.™

“The prevalence of malnutrition is deeply concerning. If it was easy to see, it would be easy to diagnose, but, unfortunately, that is not the case,” said Debra BenAvram, FASAE, CAE, ASPEN’s CEO. “ASPEN recognizes a need for greater awareness of malnutrition and its correlation with unfavorable outcomes such as higher infection rates, poor wound healing, longer lengths of stay, and even death.”

ASPEN is helping create awareness among healthcare professionals about the need to assess patients’ nutrition and intervene earlier. In addition, the organization is educating the public and encouraging consumers to ask about their nutrition status and advocate for optimal care.

This year’s Malnutrition Awareness Week™ begins with the release of a statistical brief Characteristics of Hospital Stays Involving Malnutrition, 2013, presenting updated national estimates on the characteristics of malnutrition reported during non-maternal and nonneonatal hospital inpatient stays. Key findings include:

• Nearly 2 million hospital inpatient stays involved malnutrition in 2013;

• Hospital stays involving malnutrition accounted for nearly $42 billion; and

• Patients with malnutrition tended to be older (especially 85 years or older) and from low income and rural areas.

ASPEN and Baxter International collaborated on the development of the brief using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) database, the nation’s most comprehensive source of hospital data, including information on inpatient care, ambulatory care, and emergency department visits.

“These new statistics clearly show that malnutrition is associated with longer hospital stays and higher healthcare costs,” stated Peggi Guenter, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, Senior Director of Clinical Practice, Quality, and Advocacy at ASPEN and contributing author to this statistical brief. “ASPEN appreciates the opportunity to work with HCUP and Baxter to better understand the number of those affected by malnutrition and help to identify strategies for intervening earlier in the overall care of the patient.”

ASPEN will take the new statistics to Capitol Hill during Malnutrition Awareness Week™ in order to educate legislators on the importance of diagnosing and managing malnutrition for better patient outcomes and to help with lower overall healthcare costs. A series of free opportunities will be available throughout the week for healthcare professionals and others to learn more about malnutrition:

• Improving Malnutrition from the Physician Perspective (webinar)

• Combating Malnutrition in Spanish Speaking Populations: Available Programs and Resources (webinar)

• Malnutrition Interventions and Programs for Older Adults (webinar)


• Aging Does Not Matter: Malnutrition in the Aging Population (expert Q & A with clinical nutrition experts)

For more information on Malnutrition Awareness Week™ and a full schedule of events, please visit



The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. Founded in 1976, ASPEN is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical

nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 6,500 members from around the world, ASPEN is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students, and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research, and education. For more information about ASPEN, please visit

Amber McCracken
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