Title of Work

Nutrition Assessment in St. Mary's Health Clinic Serving Undocumented, Latinx Patients

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

March 2021

Conference Location



Introduction: Current nutrition assessment tools identify specific nutritional complications, such as the Subjective Global Assessment (SGA) to detect malnutrition yet fail to identify multiple nutritional risk factors. A population-specific nutrition assessment tool is paramount for patient-centered care at St. Mary's Health Clinic (SMHC), providing health care to undocumented, uninsured, Latinx patients. SMHC patients are at disproportionately high risk for chronic nutrition-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. This study aimed to establish a new tool for conducting culturally sensitive nutrition assessments.Methods: We created a novel nutrition assessment tool tailored to SMHC patients based on traditional components of nutritional assessment and nutrition barriers identified specific to this patient population. Thirty-one patient assessments were completed using the SGA and our novel tool. We used triangulation to compare the SGA and our tool, rating each tool's ability to capture patients’ nutritional needs and diagnoses. Results: Of 31 patients assessed, 63.3% were female, 36.7% were male, and 83.9% were diagnosed with at least one cardiometabolic disease. Most patients received a nutrition score of A on the SGA, indicating they were not at nutritional risk. Nearly all patients received a nutrition score of B using our novel tool, signifying they needed nutritional intervention. The mean score measuring how well the nutrition assessment tool captured the nutritional risks for the patients was lower for the SGA (2.2±0.5) than for our novel tool (4.9±0.2, p<0.001). Only the novel tool captured important factors such as food insecurity, previous diet education, life stressors, weight gain, and disease-specific nutrition problems.Conclusion: The novel tool is more effective in capturing the nutritional needs of the SMHC patients or similar population. This highlights the need for specialized nutrition assessment tools beyond those designed to detect malnutrition.

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