You know you need to better assess your client’s nutrition to better recommendations. But you know that current assessment tools are not better. Until now. The following explains how to better assess your client’s nutrition.
Why is a nutritional assessment important?
Learning to better assess your client’s nutrition will help
you develop targeted recommendations that are doable and effective towards
helping them get and stay healthy. That is better for your client and for your
business. So let’s dive into nutritional screening tools to reveal what is
What is the purpose of a nutritional assessment?
Today, there are so many ways to take in nutrients. The sum of those nutrients as well as the forms, timing, and balance will impact whether they contribute to your client’s better health.
“Nutritional assessment is the interpretation of anthropometric, biochemical (laboratory), clinical and dietary data to determine whether a person or groups of people are well nourished or malnourished (over-nourished or under-nourished).”
When searching online, we found this summary a helpful way to think about the goals of nutrition assessment from the HEAT Programme.
How do you assess nutritional status?
Step one to better assess your client’s nutrition is to move away from any tools that generalize or put your client into groupings based on “norms”. While normal values can be helpful for population assessments, they do not help you or your client learn more about their personal nutrition needs and status.
For example, if someone is within norms for calcium but it has been consistently declining year on year while still staying normal, there is a story there that someone looking only for abnormal values will miss.
A key to better assess your client’s nutrition is to get to know their nutritional status as an individual. Research validates this concept as well.
Conclusions General health checks did not reduce morbidity or mortality, neither overall nor for cardiovascular or cancer causes, although they increased the number of new diagnoses. Important harmful outcomes were often not studied or reported.
– General health checks in adults for reducing morbidity and mortality from disease: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7191
And likewise, research helps confirm what we know in practice. Current nutrition assessment tools are not better for developing total nutrition recommendations for an individual’s health.
Existing tools like BMI don’t accurately predict health status nor risk. While current practice standard of using BMI (body mass index) as a marker of current and future health risk, the findings don’t validate the beneficial link between BMI and several other health markers, including blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Findings:
– Nearly half of individuals who are considered overweight by way of BMI were actually metabolically healthy, as were 19 million people with a BMI associated with obesity.
– 30% individuals in the normal or healthy BMI range were metabolically unhealthy.
“BMI as a proxy for health has led to nearly 75 million U.S. adults being misclassified as metabolically unhealthy or healthy
“Tomiyama AJ, Hunger JM, Nguyen-Cuu J, Wells C. Misclassification of cardiometabolic health when using body mass index categories in NHANES 2005–2012. International Journal of Obesity. 2016.
What should be included in a nutritional assessment?
“…Assessment of nutritional status requires a multidimensional approach, which includes different clinical indices and various nutritional parameters.”
Comparison of two nutritional assessment methods in gastroenterology patients. World Journal of Gastroenterology. Branka F Filipović, Milan Gajić, World J Gastroenterol. 2010 Apr 28; 16(16): 1999–2004
How can we assess the nutritional status of an individual?
Getting to know the individual will help you better assess
your client’s nutrition needs to create better goals. A better assessment focuses
on these three primary areas
- WHAT goes in & on their body most often – is it meeting their health needs?
- WHEN they take in nutrients – does the majority of those nutrients get to where the body can use them?
- HOW doable are their current nutrient choices – can you recommend something better, easier?
What are better nutritional assessment tools?
Existing nutrition assessments fall into two categories:
poor and ok. To better assess your client’s nutrition you need to use tools
that assess all of the boxes shown below. It is now easy to do this with
better nutrition tools developed by practitioners for practitioners and
their patients. Hear what
practitioners are saying about how these tools help them develop better recommendations
and get better outcomes.
Ready to better assess your client’s nutrition to develop better recommendations and get better outcomes?! AWESOME. We are here to help.