Simple Nutrition Screening Tool for Pediatric Inpatients Academic Article uri icon


  • Background

    Pediatric nutrition risk screening tools are not routinely implemented throughout many hospitals, despite prevalence studies demonstrating malnutrition is common in hospitalized children. Existing tools lack the simplicity of those used to assess nutrition risk in the adult population. This study reports the accuracy of a new, quick, and simple pediatric nutrition screening tool (PNST) designed to be used for pediatric inpatients.

    Materials and methods

    The pediatric Subjective Global Nutrition Assessment (SGNA) and anthropometric measures were used to develop and assess the validity of 4 simple nutrition screening questions comprising the PNST. Participants were pediatric inpatients in 2 tertiary pediatric hospitals and 1 regional hospital.


    Two affirmative answers to the PNST questions were found to maximize the specificity and sensitivity to the pediatric SGNA and body mass index (BMI) z scores for malnutrition in 295 patients. The PNST identified 37.6% of patients as being at nutrition risk, whereas the pediatric SGNA identified 34.2%. The sensitivity and specificity of the PNST compared with the pediatric SGNA were 77.8% and 82.1%, respectively. The sensitivity of the PNST at detecting patients with a BMI z score of less than -2 was 89.3%, and the specificity was 66.2%. Both the PNST and pediatric SGNA were relatively poor at detecting patients who were stunted or overweight, with the sensitivity and specificity being less than 69%.


    The PNST provides a sensitive, valid, and simpler alternative to existing pediatric nutrition screening tools such as Screening Tool for the Assessment of Malnutrition in Pediatrics (STAMP), Screening Tool Risk on Nutritional status and Growth (STRONGkids), and Paediatric Yorkhill Malnutrition Score (PYMS) to ensure the early detection of hospitalized children at nutrition risk.


  • White, M
  • Lawson, K
  • McKechnie, Rebecca L
  • Dennis, N
  • Hutchinson, Z
  • Soh, XY
  • Matsuyama, M
  • Doolan, A
  • Todd, A
  • Elliott, A
  • Bell, K
  • Littlewood, R

publication date

  • 2016