Pediatric Malnutrition

08/21/2018 - While the current prevalence of U.S. children who experience acute or chronic undernutrition is unknown, the impact of malnutrition on outcomes is evident. And, although research is limited, malnutrition in this population can lead to more complicated hospitalizations due to progression of the underlying disease or condition, poor wound healing or a slow return to the previous level of activity — complications that can significantly increase the length of stay and cost of hospitalization.

Did you know?

  • Pediatric malnutrition (undernutrition) is estimated to contribute to approximately 45% of all child deaths globally.
  • Approximately 20 million children younger than 5 years old worldwide are severely undernourished.
  • Seventeen percent of U.S. children and adolescents between 2 and 19 years old are obese.
  • An estimated 1 in 10 U.S. households with children struggle with food insecurity.

In 2014, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition collaborated to publish a consensus statement regarding indicators recommended for the identification and documentation of pediatric malnutrition. Since then, considerable work has been done to implement the recommendations and address this often overlooked clinical condition.

Academy-led dietetic practice groups including Pediatric Nutrition, Dietitians in Nutrition Support, Public Health and Community Nutrition, Oncology Nutrition and Clinical Nutrition Management provide resources for Academy members to recognize and treat malnutrition.

Events and Opportunities

Learn and connect with colleagues at events focusing on pediatric malnutrition.

Complimentary Webinar

Competency to QI: Lessons Learned from Implementing the Pediatric Malnutrition Criteria
Date: Wednesday, September 5
Time: Noon to 1 p.m. (Central time)

Speaker and co-author of the pediatric consensus statement Liesje Nieman Carney, RD, CSP, LDN, will share expertise in this 1.0 CPEU event discussing electronic medical records to improve malnutrition diagnosis accuracy and documentation to quality improvement ideas for multidisciplinary use of the pediatric malnutrition criteria. If you are not able to attend live, you can listen to a recorded version of the event.

@eatrightPRO Twitter Chat

Join the Academy and experts in pediatric malnutrition on Thursday, September 6, at noon (Central time) as we host a discussion that explores your ideas, opinions and suggestions for real-life solutions to this complex issue.

Learn more at FNCE®

For a complete listing of FNCE® sessions and details, visit

Attend these two sessions to build your confidence in addressing pediatric malnutrition:

  • Session 201. The Future of Pediatric Malnutrition: Establishing Prevalence, Ensuring Prevention, Sunday, October 21, from 8 - 9:30 a.m.
  • Session 218. Nutrition Risk Screening in Pediatrics: Hospital and Community Based Tools, Tuesday, October 23, from 12 - 1:30 p.m.

Additional Training and Education Opportunities

Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam Hands-on Training Workshop

The Academy offers the Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam in-person training workshop for registered dietitian nutritionists to accurately identify and nutrition diagnose for adult patients with, or at risk for, malnutrition. While a nutrition-focused physical exam is only one component of the nutrition assessment, it can provide necessary supportive data. Pocket guides for both pediatric and adult nutrition-focused physical exams are available at

Malnutrition and Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam Practical Applications in a Pediatric Setting

The Malnutrition and Nutrition-Focused Physical Exam Practical Applications in a Pediatric Setting complementary webinar describes the rationale and value of incorporating nutrition-focused physical exams into pediatric care settings.

Access Past FNCE® Sessions

FNCE® attendees have complimentary 24/7 on-demand access to the recordings, PowerPoint presentations and printable handouts for all concurrent sessions (as released for inclusion) based on the year(s) and day(s) of verified attendance. Didn't attend FNCE®? Access to all recorded programs is available at a discounted member rate and can be purchased directly from the FNCE® On-Demand site.

  • Building Healthier Futures: The First 1,000 Days – Session 128 – FNCE® 2017.
    The effects of malnutrition during the first 1,000 Days, during a woman's pregnancy, until her child's 2nd birthday, can last a lifetime. Learn how you can build healthier futures with leaders from the 1,000 Days project, which is working worldwide on policy and funding opportunities to ensure mothers and babies are valued, healthy, and well nourished.
  • The Intestinal Microbiome in Undernutrition: Cause, Effect, or Both? – Session 126 – FNCE® 2017.
    Undernutrition remains one of the most pressing global health challenges today, contributing to nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 years of age. The metagenomics era has facilitated new research identifying an altered microbiome in undernourished hosts and has provided insight into a number of mechanisms by which these alterations may affect growth.

Looking for More Research?

Academy Foundation Heroes

Visit the Foundation's website to read more about members who have made significant contributions in the area of pediatric malnutrition throughout their career.