What is Nutritional Assessment?

The definition of Nutritional Assessment is: A structured way to establish nutritional status and energy-requirements by objective measurements and whereby, completed with objective parameters and in relation to specific disease-indications, an adequate (nutritional-) treatment can be developed for the patient. All this happens preferably in a multidisciplinary setting.

Nutritional status

The definition of nutritional status is: the condition of the body as a result of the intake, absorption and use of nutrition and the influence of disease-related factors.

How to measure?

There is not one single parameter that serves as the only and best parameter to discover malnourished patients or patients with risk for malnutrition. There is no golden standard. For that reason we always use more parameters to constitute a representation of the nutritional status of a patient.

The most important goals of Nutritional Assessment are:

  • In time discovery of malnourished patients or patients at risk, so the dietician can start her nutritional treatment as soon as possible.

  • To determine the quantity of malnutrition, so an adequate definition of the individual nutritional need is possible.

  • Diagnostic purposes.

  • Monitoring of changes in nutritional state during nutritional intervention.

  • Collecting data for scientific research.

  • Attention for the nutritional status of a patient in the hospital.

  • Improvement of accomplishment of Nutritional Assessment measurements.

Nutritional Assessment can be used for patients at risk for malnutrition and patients in which Nutritional Assessment can contribute to determination of the diagnosis.


  • Bokhorst van de van der Schueren MAE (2000) Malnutrition of the head and neck cancer patient, Haarlem, the Netherlands. (thesis)

  • Barendregt K, van den Hogen E, Soeters PB (2000) Depletie, pp 80-95, uit: Klinische voeding, van Leeuwen PAM, Bohn Stafleu Van Loghum, Houten/ Diegem

  • Gibson RS (1990) Principles of Nutritional Assessment, Oxford University Press, New York

  • Baxter JP (1999) Problems of Nutritional Assessment in the acute setting, Proc Nutr Soc; 58: 39-46

  • Edington J (1999) Problems of Nutritional Assessment in the community, Proc Nutr Soc; 58: 47-51

  • Thomas DR, Zdrowski CD, Wilson MM, Conright KC, Lewis C, Tariq S, Morley JE (2002) Malnutrition in subacute care, Am J Clin Nutr; 75: 308-313