Malnutrition Solution Center

For the past 40 years, ASPEN has focused its strategic efforts on reducing the incidence of malnutrition in hospitalized patients. The following resources and tools have been made for you the, healthcare clinician, clinical nutrition managers, administrators, consumers, patients and caregivers.

Overview: Did You Know?

That 1 in 3 patients are malnourished? 
Patients diagnosed with malnutrition have a length of stay 3 times higher? 
Surgical patients with malnutrition have a 4 times higher risk of pressure ulcer development? 
The annual burden of disease-associated malnutrition across 8 diseases in the U.S. is $156.7 billion? 


  • Tappenden K, Quatrara B, Parkhurst, ML, Malone AM, Fanjiang G, Ziegler TR. Critical role of nutrition in improving quality of care: An interdisciplinary call to action to address adult hospital malnutrition. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2013;37:482-497. 
  • Barker LA, Gout BS, Crowe TC. Hospital malnutrition: prevalence, identification and impact on patients and the healthcare system. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011;8:514-527. 
  • Fry DE, Pine M, Jones BL, Meimban RJ. Patient characteristics and the occurrence of never events. Arch Surg. 2010;145(2):148-151. 
  • Snider JT, Linthicum MT, Wu Y, LaVallee C, Lakdawalla DN, Hegazi R, et al. Economic burden of community-based disease-associated malnutrition in the United States. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2014;38(S2):77S-85S.

Malnutrition Solution Center

We want to help patients, consumers and caregivers, clinicians, clinical nutrition managers, and healthcare administrators with the detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disease-related malnutrition. We have the solutions to help you and your institution deliver optimal nutrition care. This page highlights ASPEN's resources and tools for you to help yourself, your patients, and your institution with this important clinical problem.

While a recent ASPEN survey found compliance with accreditation standards in completing a nutrition screen and most institutions have a nutrition assessment process, there is considerable heterogeneity in both use of tools and mechanisms for diagnosis, treatment of coding capture of malnutrition. Opportunities exist to improve practices for these processes in hospitalized patients.

Malnutrition Matters Education Program for Providers
The ASPEN Malnutrition Committee has created the Malnutrition Matters Education Program for providers to highlight the importance of addressing malnutrition in hospital patients.

Nutrition clinicians should use the slide presentations to educate hospital care providers—physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. They contain important facts and information for diagnosing and documenting malnutrition in adult and pediatric patients. 

There are two ready-to-use presentations, one for each population, and they take only 10-15 minutes to present. These copyright-protected slides are not to be modified but can be included as part of another nutrition support-related presentation. Notes are included in the slide presentations and it is recommended that you review the key papers below to help brief you on the material. Learn more here.

Nutrition Care Pathways
The Nutrition Care Pathways allow clinicians to optimize their nutrition care processes by walking through and integrating each of the steps into the care of their patients. These pathways can be guides to best practices in nutrition care from admission to discharge. With each of the Nutrition Care Pathways is a series of Resources that one can use to help with that care step.

*Access the care pathways and other valuable resources here.
Adult Care Pathway  Pediatric Care Pathway  

Resources for Healthcare Clinicians, Managers and Administrators

If you are a Clinician, Clinical Nutrition Manager, or Healthcare Administrator, you understand the importance of incorporating optimal nutrition care processes into everyday care to improve patient outcomes. 

ASPEN has developed a number of resources for you and your nutrition care team to use in a variety of settings in order understand malnutrition and to be able to identify, document, code, and treat this condition. These resources allow you the ability to implement an optimal nutrition care plan, measure quality of your team efforts, and improve value to your patients.
Available Now: Improve Patient Outcomes: ASPEN’s Step-by-Step Guide to Addressing Malnutrition. This guide provides the tools, resources, care pathways, and processes to reach these important care goals and improve value to patients.

Optimal Nutrition as a Patient Safety Goal: What ASPEN Is Doing to Help

Malnutrition Awareness Week™: As an important step toward effectively treating malnutrition is raising awareness about it. ASPEN has named “Malnutrition Awareness Week™,” to help bring awareness through educational programming and resource dissemination to help clinicians understand this often poorly diagnosed condition.

Malnutrition Toolkit: The ASPEN Malnutrition Toolkit allows healthcare professionals to quickly access the latest articles, tools, educational opportunities, and websites to screen, assess, and diagnose malnutrition in your care setting. Both pediatric and adult practice tools are available to help you meet the needs of your patients. and administrators by helping to increase nutrition coding and reimbursement and improving patient outcomes, thus decreasing cost and readmissions.

Resources for Consumers, Patients, and Caregivers

ASPEN has brought together a number of resources for consumers, patients, and caregivers to help you understand malnutrition, and be able to identify this condition. These tools are available without cost and can be printed out for you to take to your healthcare provider.

As an important step toward understanding this condition its important to ask about your nutrition. ASPEN has created two informative consumer posters entitled, Ask About Your Nutrition and the Ask About Your Child's Nutrition. We encourage you to use this poster as an educational tool for you and your loved ones and share the results with your healthcare providers. The posters are also available in Spanish below.

2016 Ask About Your Childs Nutrition Poster - Branded 
2016 Ask About Your Nutrition Poster - Branded 


2016 Ask About Your Childs Nutrition Spanish
2016 Ask About Your Nutrition Spanish

The Self-MNA® Mini Nutritional Assessment is a simple tool that can be used by adults 65 years of age and older or their caregivers. This new tool has been scientifically validated and is as effective as the MNA® in identifying malnutrition. The Self-MNA® is available in four versions –the English Self-MNA® with Imperial or US customary measurements, the English Self-MNA® with metric measurements, the Spanish Self-MNA®, and the German Self-MNA®. Older adults may click on the desired version to download and complete the Self-MNA®. Results should be shared and discussed with a health care provider to help optimize nutrition and health.

National Council on Aging Nutrition Tools for Older Adults provides provides nutrition tips for the elderly with chronic diseases. Get tips and step-by-step guidance on how to improve your nutrition while managing a chronic condition.

Optimal Nutrition as a Patient Safety Goal: What ASPEN Is Doing to Help

ASPEN has been and continues to address malnutrition as a public health issue with governmental and regulatory engagement. Below are just some of the projects ASPEN is working on in this area.

HCUP Data Project: Using National Inpatient Data to look at Malnutrition and Patient Outcomes

Joint Commission: Asked Joint Commission to Consider Malnutrition Prevention a National Patient Safety Goal

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety article Addressing Disease-Related Malnutrition in Hospitalized Patients: A Call for a National Goal

White House Conference on Aging: Signed off on a Petition to have Malnutrition Prevention included in the Healthy Aging and Long Term Services and Supports sections of the conference agenda.

State Resolutions on Malnutrition and Malnutrition Awareness Week: Florida, Georgia, Texas, Massachusetts

HHS Summit on Aging: ASPEN Leaders Participate

Malnutrition Awareness Week

An important step toward effectively treating malnutrition is raising awareness about it. ASPEN's Malnutrition Awareness Week™ was created to to help bring awareness through educational programming and resource dissemination to help clinicians understand this often poorly diagnosed condition.

Additional Resources/Publications

ASPEN Hosts Successful Global Leadership Conversation on Malnutrition

Consensus Statement of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition: Indicators Recommended for the Identification and Documentation of Pediatric Malnutrition (Undernutrition). Nutr Clin Pract. 2015;30:139-146.

Nutrition Screening and Assessment in Hospitalized Patients: A Survey of Current Practice in the United States. Nutr Clin Pract. 2014;29:483-490.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Consensus Malnutrition Characteristics: Application in Practice. Nutr Clin Pract. 2013;28:639-650.

Defining Pediatric Malnutrition: A Paradigm Shift Toward Etiology-Related Definitions.JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2013;37:460-481.

Critical Role of Nutrition in Improving Quality of Care: An Interdisciplinary Call to Action to Address Adult Hospital Malnutrition. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr., 2013;37:482-497.

Malnutrition Diagnoses in Hospitalized Patients: United States, 2010. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2014;38:186-195.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Characteristics Recommended for the Identification and Documentation of Adult Malnutrition (Undernutrition). JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2012;36:275-283

Adult Malnutrition: Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Adult Nutrition Assessment Tutorial.JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2012:36:267-274.