ASPEN Strives to Address Critical Gaps in Diagnoses, Care and Treatment through Annual Malnutrition Awareness Week™

Every 60 Seconds 10 Hospitalized Patients with Malnutrition Go Undiagnosed Making Awareness As Critical As Ever

Silver Spring, MD – Next week, 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, will embark upon its sixth annual Malnutrition Awareness Week™.  

Little more than a decade ago, as many as 14 hospitalized patients with malnutrition went undiagnosed each minute. Although important strides have been made in recent years, critical gaps remain in diagnosing and treating the condition. Today, 10 hospitalized patients with malnutrition continue to go undiagnosed every 60 seconds, associated with higher infection rates, poor wound healing, longer lengths of hospital stays, and higher frequency of hospital readmission. Not unexpectedly, these outcomes are associated with increased costs for individual consumers and the health care system as a whole. 

ASPEN established Malnutrition Awareness Week™ in 2011 to raise awareness of this problem and to provide guidance on addressing it. Between September 18-22, this year’s events will help to educate healthcare professionals and the public about the importance of nutrition in patient care.

“Malnutrition Awareness Week™ encompasses two critical calls to action,” said Debra BenAvram, ASPEN’s Chief Executive Officer. “We want those who provide care to consider assessing and intervening earlier and, in so doing, help improve health outcomes. We also want to let the public know to ask about nutrition status for themselves or their loved ones, serving as their own best advocates for optimal nutrition care.”

This year’s events include a series of opportunities for healthcare professionals and others to learn more about malnutrition:

  • Monday: A webinar from 4pm – 5pm ET, Improving Standardization of Oral Nutrition Supplemental Provision in Malnourished Patients.
  • Tuesday: A Twitter chat at 1:00 PM ET hosted by the National Council on Aging. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #MAW2017. Also on Tuesday, from 4pm – 5pm ET, ASPEN will host a webinar on A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Increasing Awareness of Enteral Nutrition in the Pediatric Patient: A Provider and Parent Perspective.
  • Wednesday: A webinar from 4pm – 5pm ET, On the Fast Track with the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Protocol
  • Thursday: A webinar from 4pm – 5pm ET, Approaching an Audit Through Accurate Documentation and Coding for Malnutrition Diagnosis.
  • Friday: A Webinar from 12:30pm – 1:30pm ET, Electronic Clinical Quality Measures: A Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative.

In addition, the ASPEN Malnutrition Committee has created informative consumer posters entitled, Ask About Your Nutrition and Ask About Your Child's Nutrition for institutions to use as an educational tool for patients. The posters are also available in Spanish.

For more information on Malnutrition Awareness Week or to register for an event, please visit  

1*This statistic was calculated using Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) data on diagnosis of malnutrition during hospitalizations compared with a malnutrition prevalence rate of 30% of hospitalized patients as supported by the literature.


Malnutrition Awareness Week™ 2017 is sponsored in part by:


Abbott Logo Aug 2017


*All program content is planned and conducted by ASPEN without commercial influence. Corporate sponsorship of Malnutrition Awareness Week does not constitute endorsement of the corporate entity nor does it imply corporate involvement in the planning or content development. 


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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