Malnutrition Awareness WeekTM is September 19-23 and an opportunity to spotlight and bring awareness to the prevention and diagnosis of pediatric malnutrition. Pediatric malnutrition does not discriminate and presents as both undernutrition and overnutrition.

It is classified based on etiology:

  • Illness related malnutrition can be caused by disease or injury that directly result in nutrient imbalance
  • Non-illness related malnutrition can be caused by environmental/behavioral factors associated with decreased nutrient intake and/or delivery.

Early assessment for pediatric malnutrition can identify infants and children at risk and support earlier intervention and treatment. The mid-upper arm circumference is one measure easily implemented in inpatient, outpatient, or community settings that can help clinicians identify children at risk for malnutrition. This measure can help capture both undernutrition and overnutrition. As part of a full nutritional assessment, clinicians can complete a Pediatric Nutrition Focused Physical Exam (a head-to-toe examination providing a complete assessment to identify fat loss, muscle wasting, and micronutrient deficiencies) in children who are at high risk for malnutrition

Food insecurity can play a large role in diet quality and pediatric malnutrition. The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have developed a toolkit to help providers screen, intervene, and address food insecurity in children. To learn more about pediatric malnutrition, check out the educational webinars and articles from the Abbott Nutrition Health Institute. Also visit the Abbott Center for Malnutrition Solutions, launched as a collaboration between Abbott and external nutrition experts and partners to help identify, treat, and prevent malnutrition.

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