Pediatric and Neonatal Malnutrition: A Collaborative, Family-Centered Approach Improves Outcomes

Dena L. Goldberg* and Holly A. Van Poots

Pediatric and Neonatal Malnutrition: A Collaborative, Family-Centered Approach Improves Outcomes.

Diagnosing malnutrition can increase reimbursement for hospital care for an individual patient and over time increases the acuity factor for the facility. Even if reimbursement is not increased, malnutrition should be identified, evaluated, treated and monitored for optimal long term outcomes. Malnutrition added to the problem list on the discharge summary will inform
the medical staff following the patient post discharge to continue focus on the correction of growth deficiencies.

Nutrition affects growth and development and can have lifelong impact. The first 1,000 days of life is the peak time for brain development, and brain development is dependent on optimal nutrition. Research indicates that there are critical periods in brain development that depend on the availability of specific nutrients and that later supplementation cannot make up the deficit. A strong relationship between nutrition, brain growth, and neurodevelopmental outcomes exists.
Several studies have demonstrated a link between poor growth and neurocognitive development up to 19 years of age.

Early aggressive nutrition during the first two weeks of life promotes better brain growth and accelerated white matter maturation and promotes better growth. Poor head growth during the NICU stay and post discharge has been associated with motor and cognitive delays. Catch-up in weight and head growth after 36 weeks improves neurodevelopmental outcomes.
Research supports a link between length, brain development, and neurocognitive outcome.
In 2014 the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

Pediatr Neonatal Nurs Open J. 2019; 6(1): e1-e4. doi: 10.17140/PNNOJ-6-e008