Malnutrition Solution Center

MAW Solution Center 2019 For more than 40 years, ASPEN has focused strategic efforts on reducing the incidence of malnutrition. We tackle this effort on two fronts—through educational support and resources to healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers, and through our advocacy work for malnutrition prevention and treatment.  


ASPEN works tirelessly to support clinicians, managers, and administrators in the detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disease-related malnutrition. Below is a compilation of resources from ASPEN and other organizations to help you deliver the most optimal nutrition care to your patients. 

On-Demand Educational Videos on Malnutrition
Busy professionals in any time zone and in any country will benefit these new, on-demand, educational short videos.

AHRQ Publishes New Report on Malnutrition 
HCUP ASPEN 2019The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) published on August 30th, a new report on malnutrition in hospitalized patients and those readmitted. This 2016 data from the NIS database indicates a higher rate of malnutrition than the previously published 2013 statistical brief. This report also includes readmission data which demonstrates a continued higher readmission rate in patients with coded malnutrition in their index stay.

See ASPEN infographic on malnutrition in hospitalized patients based on AHRQ data.

Malnutrition Matters Slide Deck for Providers

The Malnutrition Matters Education Program, developed by the ASPEN Malnutrition Committee, addresses the importance of diagnosing and documenting malnutrition in hospital patients. These ready-to-use presentations can be used by nutrition clinicians in training physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants on adult and pediatric malnutrition. ASPEN members have free access to the presentations. Non-members can purchase them for $20 each. Learn more .

Preterm and Neonatal Malnutrition Indicator Card 
This card provides the recommended malnutrition indicators in preterm and neonatal populations, as well as recommended parenteral and enteral energy and protein intakes for neonates. These recommendations are from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The card is supported by Mead Johnson Nutrition. View card.

Improve Patient Outcomes: ASPEN’s Step-by-Step Guide to Addressing Malnutrition
This detailed and easy to follow guide provides the tools and resources to help you identifydocument code, and treat malnutrition in adult and pediatric patients. With step-by-step guidance on care pathways and processes, you will be able to better implement optimal nutrition care plans, measure the quality of your team’s efforts in identifying and treating malnutrition, and improve patient outcomes. Purchase guide .

Nutrition Care Pathways 
The Nutrition Care Pathways indicate best practices and guide clinicians—step by step—through the nutrition care process, from admission to discharge. Each step in the pathway is supplemented with resources to use in developing nutrition care plans for patients.

Adult Care Pathway
Adult Nutrition Care Pathway
Nutrition Care Pathway Pediatric

MAW Logo with Right White SpaceMalnutrition Awareness Week™
, September 23-27, 2019

An important step toward effectively treating malnutrition is to educate healthcare professionals and consumers on the condition—from the detection and diagnosis of malnutrition to treatment. Malnutrition Awareness Week was established by ASPEN to do just that, through educational programming and resource dissemination, to help everyone understand this often poorly diagnosed condition.

Malnutrition Toolkit
The ASPEN Malnutrition Toolkit gives healthcare professionals quick access to the latest resources and tools for screening,assessing, and diagnosing malnutrition in both pediatric and adult patients. The toolkit includes information for clinicians on how to improve patient outcomes and assists administrators in nutrition coding and reimbursement processes, thus decreasing costs and readmissions. Access toolkit.  

Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative (MQII) Toolkit
ASPEN has partnered with Defeat Malnutrition Today and the Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative (MQII) to aid in the efforts to detect and treat malnutrition, particularly among older adults. Access MQII Toolkit.   

Additional Resources

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ASPEN has resources for consumers, patients, and caregivers on identifying and understanding malnutrition. The information from these tools can be shared during a patient’s visit with their healthcare provider.

Ask About Your Nutrition Posters

It is important for patients, as well as caregivers and families, to be proactive and ask about their nutrition status. ASPEN has created two educational posters to help you recognize the signs of malnutrition, so you can talk to your healthcare provider about treatment. The posters are available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

NEW! Arabic
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
ASPEN Nutrition Poster-CHILD-ENGLISH(1)
NEW! Arabic
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

How Do I Talk with My Healthcare Provider about Malnutrition?
Along with the “Ask About Your Nutrition” posters, this short, on-demand video will help patients and caregivers have productive conversations with their healthcare providers around their nutrition status. View the video.

NEW! A Guide for Adults: How to Spot and Talk About Symptoms That Could Mean You’re Malnourished

Poor nutrition and eating problems can put you at risk of being malnourished. Malnutrition threatens your health and your ability to recover from injuries or illnesses. This information is adapted from a video presented by Angela Newton, MBA, RD, and the ASPEN Malnutrition Committee. View the guide.


Malnutrition Infographs

Each day, approximately 15,000 hospital patients with malnutrition go undiagnosed. Patients with malnutrition have higher hospital costs, longer stays, and increased mortality. Get the facts on malnutrition and help us bring down these numbers.

ASPEN HCUP Infographic 2019 Final Thumbnail

NEW! Malnourished Hospitalized Patients Are Associated with Higher Costs, Longer Stays & Increased Mortality Infographic

Malnutrition: An Older Adult Crisis

Malnutrition: An Older Adult Crisis

Resources For Older Adults

The causes of malnutrition in older adults are a complex blend of physical, social, and psychological issues — from the loss of appetite due to depression to the inability to get to the store for groceries. Here are some resources to help seniors:


Resources For Children

  • ASPEN Special Report: Defining Pediatric Malnutrition.  Read report
  • 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).  Read abstract.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics: Recognition and Management of Malnutrition. See overview. Download in English or Spanish.
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Pathway for Identification and Diagnosis of Inpatient Pediatric Malnutrition (Undernutrition). Read.


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ASPEN is continuously working to address malnutrition as a public health issue through governmental and regulatory engagement. Below are just some of the projects ASPEN is working onin this area. 

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

Characteristics of Hospital Stays Involving Malnutrition, 2013 ( PDF , HTML

All-Cause Readmissions Following Hospital Stays for Patients With Malnutrition, 2013 ( PDF , HTML)

The Joint CommissionThe Joint Commission was asked by ASPEN to consider malnutrition prevention a national patient safety goal. To that end, this article,Addressing Disease-Related Malnutrition in HospitalizedPatients: A Call for a National Goal , waspublished in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

State Initiatives—ASPEN leaders are participating in State Resolutions and Commissions on malnutrition including efforts in Ohio, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Texas.  

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  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Fry DE, Pine M, Jones BL, Meimban RJ. Patient characteristics and the occurrence of never events. Arch Surg. 2010;145(2):148-151.