Title : Self-evaluation versus objective measurement of nutrition status and their relationship with health perception and food literacy among hospital in-patients
Malnutrition is common among hospitalized patients and is associated with significant complications in in-patient care settings. Although a variety of methods are used to assess patients` nutritional state, there is, as yet, no recognized Gold Standard method of evaluation. Objective: This article describes a new nutritional tool, the Self-Assessment Nutrition Score (SANS) that relies on patients` subjective self-assessment and perception of their nutritional status. Methods: A convenience sample consisting of 90 patients was recruited from the internal medicine ward of a tertiary medical center in Israel. Data was collected in two stages: Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire that measured: a) socio-demographic information, b) Self-Rated Health (SRH), c) SANS, and d) Food Literacy, and were interviewed using the Subjective Global Assessment (SGA) tool. Results: The 10-item SANS tool was validated by nutrition experts and demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach`s alpha of 0.81). There was a negative relationship between the SANS` score reported by patients and the SGA rank assigned by clinicians (r = -0.31, p <0.01), and a positive association between the SRH and SANS scores (r = 0.38, p <0.001). There was also a weak but significant correlation between SANS score and food literacy. Conclusions: The new subjective SANS tool integrates an evaluation of patients` nutrition, health perception, mental state, and eating experiences, to produce a nutritional assessment. In addition, the relationship with SGA equips it to serve as an alternative or complementary measure to SGA in hospitals. Further research is needed to validate SANS and optimize implementation.