Self-rated health, nutritional intake and mortality in adult hospitalized patients

Mitja Lainscak*, Jerneja Farkas, Sophie Frantal, Pierre Singer, Peter Bauer, Michael Hiesmayr, Karin Schindler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In the general population, poor self-rated health (SRH) is associated with malnutrition; however, these associations have not been studied in hospitalized patients. We aimed to evaluate SRH, indicators of nutrition, nutritional status and their association with in-hospital mortality. Materials and methods: The study is based on data from the nutritionDay, a multinational, multicentre European-wide standardized 1-day cross-sectional survey of nutritional factors, food intake and in-hospital mortality in hospitalized patients. A data set of surveys on SRH in 2010 and 2011 was used in the analysis. Results: Complete sets of data were available for 28 106 patients (64 ± 18 years, 50% men, 7% terminally ill). In relation to body mass index, 7% were undernourished and 16% were obese. Fair/poor SRH was reported by 59% of patients and was associated with low food intake during the previous week or on survey day (P < 0·005). Thirty-day in-hospital mortality was 3%; in adjusted multivariate survival analysis, fair/poor SRH [hazard ratio (HR) 1·53, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·14-2·05] and reduced food intake [nothing eaten (HR 2·13, 95% CI 1·46-3·11) or not allowed to eat on nutritionDay (HR 2·01, 95% CI 1·30-3·11)] predicted fatal outcome. At particularly high risk were patients who rated their health poor and had reduced food intake on the survey day or within the previous week with relative risks of 7·37 and 8·80, respectively. Conclusions: We demonstrated high prevalence of poor SRH and insufficient food intake in hospitalized patients. This was associated, particularly in combination, with increased risk of in-hospital mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-824
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Cross-sectional survey
  • Mortality
  • Nutritional intake
  • Self-rated health


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