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Pediatric malnutrition and the role of parenteral nutrition (PN)

What is pediatric malnutrition?

Malnutrition is a big problem—not just in the U.S. but around the world. According to Dr. Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organization, “Malnutrition is a complex issue, but it is the main cause of death and disease in the world.”1 And it’s no respecter of age. Babies, children, and teenagers can suffer from the detrimental effects of malnutrition.

Some studies have reported that up to 51% of hospitalized pediatric patients suffer from malnutrition due to a disease or injury.2-4

Pediatric malnutrition is defined as “an imbalance between nutrient requirements and intake that results in cumulative deficits of energy, protein, or micronutrients that may negatively affect growth, development, and other relevant outcomes.”5 It may be caused by a disease or injury, which is usually the case in developed countries, and/or it may be caused by environmental, socioeconomic, or behavioral factors that lead to decreased nutrient intake.5 Although pediatric malnutrition is common, “its true prevalence is underreported and not well understood.”6
Babies, children, and teenagers who do not receive the nutrition they need to support adequate growth and development may experience negative consequences. Symptoms may include a thin or bloated appearance or a weakened immune system.7 Patients may also exhibit mood changes, faltering growth, and low energy levels.7,8


What impact does pediatric malnutrition have on patient outcomes?

Malnutrition can lead to adverse outcomes, including longer hospital stays and increased healthcare costs.4,9 Additionally, it can have lasting negative effects on pediatric patients, including stunting, which “often results in delayed mental development, poor school performance, and reduced intellectual capacity.”10


Nourishing pediatric patients with PN

Pediatric patients unable to receive adequate nutrition by mouth or enteral feeding may require PN to meet their nutritional goals.11 PN regimens often include lipid injectable emulsions (ILEs), which provide a noncarbohydrate source of energy and essential fatty acids.12,13


At Fresenius Kabi, we are dedicated to providing more options for patients who need PN.

If you still can't find what you're looking for regarding our PN products or Fresenius Kabi Nutrition, let us know and we can help.

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References: 1. Malnutrition is a world health crisis. World Health Organization website. September 26, 2019. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://www.who.int/news/item/26-09-2019-malnutrition-is-a-world-health-crisis. 2. Hendricks KM, Duggan C, Gallagher L, et al. Malnutrition in hospitalized pediatric patients. Current prevalence. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(10):1118-1122. 3. Pawellek I, Dokoupil K, Koletzko B. Prevalence of malnutrition in paediatric hospital patients. Clin Nutr. 2008;27(1):72-76. 4. Secker DJ, Jeejeebhoy KN. Subjective Global Nutritional Assessment for children. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(4):1083-1089. 5. Mehta NM, Corkins MR, Lyman B, et al. Defining pediatric malnutrition: a paradigm shift toward etiology-related definitions. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2013;37(4):460-481. 6. Goldberg DL, Van Poots, HA. Pediatric and Neonatal Malnutrition: A Collaborative, Family-Centered Approach Improves Outcomes. Pediatr Neonatal Nurs Open J. 2019;6(1):e1-e4. 7. Malnutrition. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Accessed July 24, 2023. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/malnutrition 8. Symptoms Malnutrition. NHS website. Last reviewed May 23, 2023. Accessed July 24, 2023. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/malnutrition/symptoms/ 9. Gambra-Arzoz M, Alonso-Cadenas JA, Jiménez-Legido M, et al. Nutrition Risk in Hospitalized Pediatric Patients: Higher Complication Rate and Higher Costs Related to Malnutrition. Nutr Clin Pract. 2020;35(1):157-163. 10. Malnutrition in children. World Health Organization website. Accessed July 26, 2023. https://www.who.int/data/nutrition/nlis/info/malnutrition-in-children#:~:text=Stuntingistheresultof,productivityatthenationallevel 11. What Is Parenteral Nutrition. ASPEN website. Accessed July 26, 2023. https://www.nutritioncare.org/About_Clinical_Nutrition/What_is_Parenteral_Nutrition/ 12. Lapillonne A, Fidler Mis N, Goulet O, et al. ESPGHAN/ESPEN/ESPR/CSPEN guidelines on pediatric parenteral nutrition: Lipids. Clin Nutr. 2018;37(6 Pt B):2324-2336. 13. Cober MP, Gura KM, Mirtallo JM, et al. ASPEN lipid injectable emulsion safety recommendations part 2: Neonate and pediatric considerations. Nutr Clin Pract. 2021;36(6):1106-1125.