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Four general methods of nutritional assessment


A person’s nutriture (Nutritional status) is the condition of the body that results from the utilization of essential nutrients made available from his/her daily diet. It depends on the relative nutrient needs of the body and the ability to digest and utilize them. It is measured by anthropometric, biochemical, clinical, and dietary methods (sometimes called ABCD’s of nutritional assessment).


Anthropometric Assessment
Anthropometric measurements are inexpensive and easily obtained. It is a form of assessment using height and weight; and the most popular method used by clinicians is the Hamwi Method, expressed in this formula:

IBW for males = 106 punds for 5 feet plus plus 6 pounds per inch above 5 feet.
IBW for females = 100 pounds for 5 feet plus 5 pounds per inch above 5 feet.
Add 10% for large frame. Subtract 10% for small frame.

Percent of IBW = (Current weight/Ideal weight) x 100

Biochemical Assessment
Many of the routine blood and urine laboratory test found in patients’ chart are useful in providing an objective assessment of nutritional status. However, there is no single available test for evaluating short-term response for medical nutritional therapy. Laboratory tests should be used in conjuction with anthropometric data, clinical data, and dietary intake assessments.

Clinical Assessment
Clinical assessment is the physical examination (P.E.) of an individual for signs and symptoms suggestive of nutritional health and/or clinical pathology. Signs usually come late in the pathogenesis of a disease, unlike biochemical tests that can detect early malnutrition states.
Clinical examinations are conducted by the physician (or a trained/experienced clinical staff) on anatomic changes that can be seen or felt in the superficial, epithelial tissues like skin, eyes, hair, buccal mucosa or organ systems (e.g. thyroid, spleen and liver). The use of a stethoscope, blood pressure and pulse rate measurements, height and weight are standard procedures in P.E. charting.

Dietary Assessment
The most commonly used data collected are food recalls and food frequency questionnaire (retrospective) and food records (prospective).

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Nutritional Care Plan