Objective: The Landelijke Prevalentiemeting Zorgkwaliteit (LPZ), or National Care Indicators Prevalence, study is an annual international multicenter cross-sectional prevalence measurement of care problems on the institution, department, and patient level across Europe. The aim of this study was to measure the prevalence of malnutrition (MN) and examine nutritional interventions in internal medical departments of Turkish hospitals.

Methods: A multicenter, cross-sectional study was performed using a standardized and tested questionnaire. Data were collected from adult patients (18 years and over) who were hospitalized in internal medical departments of the hospitals. The cross-sectional study was done in 12 different centers from six big cities in the country in every November of three consecutive years (2017–2019).

Results: A total of 1,764 patients (60.9% men, 39.1% women; mean age, 62.6±0.4 years; range, 18–99 years) from 12 centers were enrolled in the study. The main diagnoses were cardiovascular disease (35.8%), diabetes (29.3%), cancer (20.2%), respiratory diseases (20.0%), infectious diseases (18.7%), gastrointestinal diseases (18.5%), endocrine diseases (17.3%), neurological diseases (15%; dementia, 6%), and hematological diseases (9.3%). Mean weight and body mass index of the patients were 71.9±16.5 kg (range, 30–153 kg) and 27.0±5.1 kg/m2 (range, 10.6–51.3 kg/m2). MN risk prevalence was 44.2%, according to the malnutrition universal screening test (MUST), and 46.5% in elderly patients. Of the patients, 43.4% indicated unintentional weight loss in the last 6 months. Nutritional interventions to treat MN were referral to a dietitian (57.2%), oral nutrition supplements (40.7%), energy/protein–enriched diet (38%), energy/protein–enriched snacks (18.1%), parenteral nutrition (16.7%), support at mealtimes (15.8%), and tube enteral feeding (10.4%). No interventions were given to 5.4% of patients. Regular audits were made to ensure compliance with the protocol/guidelines in 88.5% of patients, and 68.5% of patients were discussed with multidisciplinary teams at the hospitals.

Conclusion: MN is highly prevalent the in internal medical departments of our hospitals. Although MN awareness is increasing, different interventions are in use according to national and international protocols/guidelines, and the number of active multidisciplinary teams is increasing. MN is still a big problem that needs further national plans.

Keywords: Malnutrition, prevalence, inpatients, internal medicine, treatment