Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
To the Editor: Hospitalized elderly patients
have a relatively high risk for malnutrition.1 While
some of this problem may be related to factors such as preexisting malnutrition,
lack of appetite, or inability to eat, it is not known to what degree clinically
indicated restricted diets contribute to such deficiencies.
We analyzed commonly prescribed diets served in 2 US hospitals. One
was a large private not-for-profit academic research-oriented medical center
serviced by a well-known commercially contracted hospital food service and
the other was a large metropolitan Veterans Affairs medical center with an
in-house dietary department. Amounts of ingredients for recipes for every
item served in the 7 prescribed meal plans in both hospitals were recorded
in a comprehensive database that allowed precise nutritional analyses by weight
of food serving. The data included ingredients used in literally thousands
of recipes; for instance, 1 hospital had more than 50 different recipes for
green beans. Nutritional information supplied by the manufacturer of prepackaged
foods was used when available.
Wright JE, Willis GJ, Edwards MS. Nutritional Content of Hospital Diets. JAMA. 2004;291(18):2194-2196. doi:10.1001/jama.291.18.2194